Auto Trader has launched a new series of webinars in partnership with the Automotive 30% Club, in order to promote greater diversity in the automotive sector.
The new series, Courageous Conversations, is free to attend and is designed to provide a forum to share ideas and hear guidance on achieving greater diverse gender balance across the industry.
Each bi-monthly episode will feature a panel of automotive thought leaders and experts who’ll be joining host, Rebecca Clark, Auto Trader’s sales director, to discuss their journey in creating a more positive culture for all women within their business, as well as exploring some of the big issues relating to gender diversity.
Episode one, which will launch at 10:00am on August 4, 2020, includes Marshall Motor Group’s CEO Daksh Gupta and franchise director Carole Merry, as well as Auto Trader’s CEO Catherine Faiers (pictured) and senior campaign manager Rebecca Nassiri.
Along with the Automotive 30% Club’s founder, Julia Muir, they’ll be discussing intersectionality of women in automotive and why greater diversity of women in the industry will be vital to its future success. There will also be time dedicated for an interactive Q&A.
Faiers and Gupta are among five Patrons of the Automotive 30% Club and will help Muir to steer the activities of the Club via an advisory panel. Courageous Conversations is part of Auto Trader’s commitment as a Patron.
Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has written to its UK franchised retail partners to inform them of the Japanese car manufacturer's plan to exit the UK and European new car markets. Long-time UK importer, the Cirencester-based Colt Car Company said that it would attempt to accelerate its plan to bring other emerging brands into the UK to replace the space left vacant by Mitsubishi after it announced on 27 July that it would freeze the introduction of new models into Europe with immediate effect. CCC said in a letter to its franchised partners that it “did not, at any point, anticipate receiving this news”. A spokesman for CCC told AM that the Mitsubishi Motors in the UK franchised car retail network would continue to sell the cars currently offered until such a time that they no longer comply with European regulations.
He added that as many retailers as possible would aim to be retained as part of a parts and aftersales network. AM understands that Mitsubishi Motor in the UK’s franchised retail network currently has around 115 dealer operators, many of whom were preparing to invest in an updated corporate identity (CI), which was showcased by the brand in 2018. Early last year, Mitsubishi Motors in the UK managing director, Rob Lindley, discussed the new CI and his hopes of reaching 50,000 UK sales by the end of 2022 with AM.
Average used car sale values increased in July at the three-year and 60,000-mile point – the first upward movement in the month since 2009 and followed an even stronger June. Strong demand and a shortage of supply helped to drive the 0.4% increase, according to data experts at Cap HPI. Average values at the one-year point stayed level and vehicles younger than this dropped very slightly. At all other ages, there has been a small, positive movement.
Cap HPI says there remains some pent-up demand in the market, with consumers wary of public transport keeping demand healthy. Derren Martin, head of valuations UK at Cap HPI, explained: “We have witnessed a relatively dramatic increase during June, then a stabilisation in July and it would appear that values have peaked but are remaining at or around that level for now. As always, there are winners and losers within these averages”.
The number of UK drivers willing to pay for a car they haven’t seen first has fallen since last year, with three-quarters saying they would not buy one without viewing it in person. According to the findings of an AA-Populus poll of more than 17,100 motorists, a fifth (21%) of Brits have bought a car unseen in 2020 — a fall from 24% last year. Of those who have bought unseen, 62% purchased a new car from a dealer, while 38% bought a used car unseen, either from a dealer, a private seller or an online auction site. Meanwhile, three-quarters (75%) of drivers said they had never bought a car unseen, and never would in the future, rising from 69% in 2019. The shift in attitudes towards only buying a car after seeing it in person comes as dealers started offering virtual viewings and delivering vehicles direct to customers’ doors, to make it easier for people to buy without setting foot on a forecourt.
The ABI’s latest Motor Insurance Premium Tracker found the average price paid for comprehensive motor insurance in the second quarter of the year was £460. This is the lowest quarterly level in four years with the fall reflecting the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown with the majority of motorists making fewer car journeys. It found that the average price paid for comprehensive motor insurance in Q2 2020 was £460, down £14 (3%) on Q1 2020. Year-on-year, the average premium fell by £9 (2%) to stand at its lowest level since Q3 2016.
there are concerns over range still.
Car dealers are optimistic about the future of the motor retail sector, with 71% of dealers feel confident in the longer-term recovery. According to research from the Britain Under the Bonnet report, from Close Brothers Motor Finance, at the beginning of 2020, 98% of car dealers were confident about business prospects for the year ahead, with almost two thirds (63%) feeling ‘very confident’. But with COVID-19 resulting in a 97% fall in new car sales in April, more than two in five (43%) dealers admitted in the same month to feeling worried about their business prospects in the next six months. Just one in ten (10%) said they were confident.
However, looking at the medium and long term, dealers are more positive. Dealers are expecting the UK to mirror the V-shaped recovery seen in China and Germany. When asked about the business outlook for their own firm over the next 7 to 18 months, 43% are confident and just 20% apprehensive. Looking further ahead past 18 months, well over half (57%) are confident and only one in ten (10%) remain concerned. Seán Kemple, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance said: “The motor industry has not had an easy few years, with external forces like Brexit and economic uncertainty warring with sector-specific challenges around fuel-type and regulation.
The DVLA has warned motorists using its services of significant delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a spokesperson stressed to Motoring Research that this is only for paper services and applications: DVLA online services are working as normal. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) maintains the registration and licensing of drivers and vehicles, and the collection of road tax (VED). “Paper applications sent to our office in Swansea will take longer to process as they must be dealt with in person on site, where we are working with reduced numbers to meet social distancing requirements,” a spokesperson told Motoring Research. The 2 metre social distancing measures in Wales have resulted in a reduced number of staff on site. Motorists should remain patient, says the DVLA, even if the delay is stretching into weeks. “If you’ve already made an application, we will process this and return any documentation as quickly as possible.”
Lexus UK dealers have topped Auto Express magazine’s Driver Power survey, which ranks the best dealerships in the country. The Japanese brand's franchisees stood out in a number of key areas, including for the politeness of staff, their communication, the standard of work their service centres carry out, and how readily courtesy cars are available. Lexus also had the lowest proportion of reported complaints of any brand’s dealerships in the 2020 survey.
Driver Power top ten best car dealers 2020:
- Lexus - 93.42%
- Honda - 91.66%
- Toyota - 89.70%
- Porsche - 89.21%
- Peugeot - 89.14%
- MG - 88.91%
- Kia - 88.14%
- Citroen - 87.48%
- Jaguar - 87.14%
- Vauxhall - 86.91%