2009 and the year ahead

As 2009 draws to a close and we reflect on a tumultuous year it’s fair to say the ups and downs have been quite staggering. What, at the start of the year, was predicted to be the very worst of years, for many car dealers and some up and coming car makers (Kia, Hyundai etc) has actually been pretty good.

As we look back on some of MTI’s highlights – like being showcased at the AM used car conference and producing our fantastic free car buying crib sheet – we can’t help but feel that information and communication are going to be key to many strategies in the coming years.

When the scrappage scheme ends and the trade must stand on its own feet once more it will be interesting to observe if the big winners have gained some momentum from the scheme and how they will attempt to continue the upward trend without the government money to seal the deal.

We believe that one thing the scheme has managed to do is appeal to customers who wouldn’t necessarily have been considering a new car purchase but have been compelled to do so by the quality of the discounts on offer. With many dealers enhancing these deals with their own campaigns it has proved that by targeted marketing and genuine offers there are still buyers who will come to the showrooms and consider buying a new or used car if the deal is right.

Next year hopefully access to finance will have improved for both dealers and customers and lenders will be more flexible when looking at how they lend on asset backed finance deal., We certainly don’t want to see a return to reckless lending which put us all in this mess in the first place but for the sake of the business and future success some common sense will need to return.

From our point of view we have had a great year both from an increase in our readership and subscriber numbers but also that we have been able to bring information from right across the spectrum of the trade to inform people of what is going on in this ever changing and sometimes volatile market.

Next year we hope to roll out our special offers section where we will look at genuine deals on great cars which we believe will be worth considering. We will be signing up more insiders from other parts of the car business and we hope to be opening up a section on subscriber Q&A where our panel of expert insiders will give their own view on how to tackle certain situations and what cars to choose.

We have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of 2009 and have had some great feedback. We will carry on talking directly to you the customer but also to our colleagues in the trade aiming to ensure that standards improve, deals get better but most of all the service and after service at all car showrooms reflects the investment which all car buyers make when changing their car.

With 2010 set to be a tougher year than this one the only way dealers can maintain that competitive edge is by being the very best. There are many factors, from tax hikes, rising prices and paying for the consequences of the banking bailout, which will result in everything being more expensive next year so dealers will be reliant on staff to ensure that they represent their company and the brands they sell effectively.

So here’s to another great but challenging year in the motor trade and from everyone at MTI and all who have contributed to our ongoing success we wish you a very happy and healthy Christmas and a prosperous new year, and if you get a new car for Christmas make sure you tell us about your experience so we can tell everyone else!

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