Lookers sold over 44,000 new and used cars during a COVID-19 ‘Lockdown 3’ impacted Q1 to finish the period “ahead of expectations”. A trading update published via the London Stock Exchange this morning (April 8) stated that the AM100 PLC now expected its underlying profit before tax for 2021 to be materially ahead of the £22.6 million forecasted by analysts. It credited the success of a new Click and Drive and contactless ecommerce platform and the ongoing operation of its aftersales businesses for the positive performance.
Aston Barclay has announced plans to welcome physical buyers back to its auction halls from Monday (April 12), while following Government Covid-19 measures. The auction group said its decision to return to physical auctions was supported by a survey of buyers where 84% of 673 respondents (582 buyers) said they would attend future physical auctions.
Aston Barclay said it plans to introduce physical sales gradually, with buyers able to attend dealer part-exchange, Motability, and light commercial sales to view vehicles and bid in the auction halls across its auction network. Meanwhile, all ex-fleet, leasing and OEM sales will continue online, with buyers being invited to the halls to view fleet and lease stock prior to the sale. OEM stock will remain offsite.
Subject to Government changes on coronavirus tiering, vehicles will be driven through the halls for the first time on April 12 starting with the LCV sale at Donington, followed by dealer sales across the network on the April 13.
Auto Trader hails 17 April as “New Car Day” as Brits set to spend first Saturday after retail re-opens in car dealership forecourts. With the pandemic derailing the UK’s holiday and social plans for over a year, many Brits have increased their disposable income, and are now set to splash their cash on a new car. New research from Auto Trader shows Brits have been stashing the cash as a result of lockdown restrictions, with 41% saving at least £1,000 over the past twelve months and over one in 10 (14.7%) revealing they’ve managed to save over £3,000.
When asked how they were going to spend their newfound savings, two-fifths (41%) of those surveyed confessed they’d like to splash their cash on a brand-new car. A huge three quarters of Brits (71%) have saved money by not dining out, with over half of those surveyed (51%) saving money by not going on an overseas holiday. Working from home has shown to have its benefits on workers’ wallets too, with over a quarter (27%) admitting to saving money by not having to travel to the office.
Insurance company NFU Mutual has predicted there will be at least an 18 per cent increase in the number of road accidents from next week. From Monday 12 April, self-contained holiday accommodation lets, non-essential retail, personal care, outdoor hospitality and indoor leisure venues are scheduled to reopen, and more motorists are expected to take to the roads. A spokesperson told Motoring Research the projected figure is based on data gathered when lockdowns were eased in 2020.
Claims to NFU Mutual for car accidents increased by 22 percent over the late May Bank Holiday last year, shortly after lockdown was eased on 11 May, while car accident claims also increased by 12 percent over the Christmas period compared with previous weeks, the insurance firm said.
The company added that its research indicated one in four drivers are “feeling nervous” about making long journeys once lockdown is eased. Of 2,000 drivers surveyed, 37 percent said they are planning to drive somewhere to go on holiday in the UK when Covid restrictions allow it. This equates to more than 12 million drivers taking to the roads from next week.
Car dealerships and other firms that need support will be able to access government-backed loans of up to £10m until the end of the year. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has opened the Treasury’s Recovery Loan Scheme to tide businesses over, with past Covid-19 lending schemes due to run out. From today, the new initiative will replace the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and its larger sibling CLBILS.
The Treasury has promised to cover 80 per cent of what banks lend if businesses do not pay back their loans. Businesses will be able to access loans varying in size from £25,001, up to a maximum of £10m. Invoice and asset finance will be available from £1,000, according to the Treasury.
Sunak said: ‘We have stopped at nothing to protect jobs and livelihoods throughout the pandemic and as the situation has evolved we have ensured that our support continues to meet businesses’ needs. As we safely reopen parts of our economy, our new Recovery Loan Scheme will ensure that businesses continue to have access to the finance they need as we move out of this crisis.’
Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall light commercial vehicle (LCV) dealers must prepare for an influx of hydrogen-powered vans as the three Stellantis brands prepare to launch fuel cell vehicles. The French OEM has announced that hydrogen plug-in hybrid vans based on the existing Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Vivaro will be offered in the UK from 2022
The new zero-emission models are being billed as the solution for fleets that require more range and faster refill times than is currently available from its current range of electric vans. Last summer AM reported on how Peugeot and Citroen dealers would be undergoing a new training and support programme to improve their light commercial vehicle (LCV) expertise ahead of the arrival of a new range of zero emissions electric vans.
Stellantis’ new hydrogen-fuelled hybrid vans can store 4.4Kg of liquid hydrogen in chassis-mounted tanks, while a rechargeable 10.5kWh battery contributes to a total range of 250 miles.
England and Wales' contact tracing app will soon ask users to share details of venues they have checked in to, if they test positive for the coronavirus. The update to the NHS Covid-19 app will be deployed ahead of shops reopening in both nations on 12 April, as well as outdoor hospitality in England. The authorities will be able to use the information to tell other visitors if they need to be tested for the virus. But the system has been designed to protect users' anonymity.
"The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus not people, and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy," said a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care. Until now, the QR barcode-scanning facility only came into use if local authorities themselves flagged a location as being a virus hotspot by other means. This would then trigger a process whereby each phone could check if it had been at one of the affected venues on the dates concerned, and send the owner an alert. But the facility has rarely been used, despite more than 106 million check-ins.