September 19, 2014

Second-hand BMW Buyer’s Guide

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Buying a used car can be quite an awe-inspiring project. If you don't know what to look for and which questions to ask, it's very possible to get stuck with a car that has hidden faults that you may not find out until it's too late. The good thing about buying a used BMW is that they have an excellent reputation for reliability. That said you … [Read more...]

One weak link

Weak-Link

I was reminded today of the importance of always keeping your eye on the ball and never, ever taking anything for granted. In the car business it really doesn’t take much to turn a customer (potential or otherwise) off so getting everyone in the chain of command to buy into the customer service ethic is vital, now more so than ever. Just one … [Read more...]

Car manufacturers and the iPhone generation

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It’s true to say that they really don’t make a bad car anymore. Gone are the dark days of the pre-glasnost Skoda and the Austin “All Agro” when cars were seemingly thrown together and would be lucky to see the year out before succumbing to one major malfunction or another. These days’ cars get ever more sophisticated and in this gadget hungry, … [Read more...]

What’s in a number?

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The SMMT are releasing positive new cars sales figures month in month out, seemingly bucking the trend in the rest of Europe, but is everything in the garden as rosy as it may at first appear? Scratch beneath the surface and the so called new car “sales” figures reveal a somewhat different picture.  We know for a fact that many franchise car … [Read more...]

The blame game, “whipcash” and easy targets

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Having been in the business for nearly 20 years now it still amuses me when I still regularly observe the bad press that 'used cars' get. You can barely watch a programme without some reference to the dodgy practices of the used car salesman. For sure anyone watching the documentary series “The dealership” really couldn’t fail but have their … [Read more...]

Smoke and mirrors in the UK car market

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It seems as if the motor trade in the UK is going from strength to strength. Sales are buoyant, the order banks are filling up, there are many new models coming to market and f&i income is at an all-time high. Scratch beneath the surface however and many dealers will tell you that it’s not all it seems. Although the headlines will say that … [Read more...]

Happy days are here again – or are they?

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Last week seemed to be bursting with good news for the UK, rugby and tennis wins, house prices on the up and reports of economic upturns and corners turned. Add to this the fact that summer has apparently decided to make a long overdue appearance then the overall effect is a resounding “feel good” one. However (you knew that was coming didn’t … [Read more...]

UK new car market being “force fed” by the manufacturers

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As the numbers keep telling us the new car market in the UK is seemingly in robust health and on the up and up, but is the story underneath as rosy as the headlines suggest? Whilst I would be the last one to do-down any worthwhile signs of economic recovery it is worth pointing out that the overriding reason that the UK new car market is showing … [Read more...]

Selling cars – it’s all about timing

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Seasonal cars Many types of cars will be, what we refer to in the trade as seasonal in that they always sell better at certain times of the year, and by “better” we of course mean quicker and for more money! Naturally cabriolets will be a classic example of this. The basics are really quite simple; when the weather hots up a bit everyone … [Read more...]

The MTI guide to selling a car safely

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Scams - Professional car dealers need to be aware of all the scams surrounding the sale of used cars and so should you. There are just so many dodgy email scams in operation that it's difficult to see how anyone might be taken in by them. Nevertheless, numerous people are seduced by them - make sure you don't fall prey to these thieves and keep … [Read more...]

Buoyant new car market presents challenges for dealers

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Trade buyers are now actively seeking older, higher mileage, small, economical cars to stock their forecourts, as buyers continue to look for bargains. There are now 2 district variety of customers, those who 'rent' their cars like our American cousins through PCP’s or other leases and those who pay cash. You may say that is how it’s always been … [Read more...]

Car market weathervane

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The recent truncated spell of winter weather has played havoc with traditional buying patterns. Just when the sun pops out from behind the clouds one step outside tells us it still cold and biting so buying a summery drop top is still not on the horizon. Whilst normally the queue for buyers of 4wd drives would start to dwindle at this time of … [Read more...]

PCP’s more popular than ever for credit hungry Brits

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Funding cars by PCP (Personal contract purchase) is rapidly becoming the norm, it is reckoned that as many as 60% of car buyers use a PCP to buy their next car and this figure is only going in one direction. Although many of us do not necessarily like the thought of another monthly commitment it is invariably better than to have an older car … [Read more...]

March Madness!

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With March well and truly underway many dealers are caught in the crossfire of the car maker’s market share war! Some of our people are telling us that the targets are not only unrealistic but causing forced registrations as the manufacturers continue to incentivise dealers to pre-register new cars in order to grab more share. The effect of … [Read more...]

DVLA and unlucky 13

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There is likely to be a short term rise in the amount of personal plates being acquired as buyers keen to avoid an unlucky 13 plate, but still wanting a new car, turn to private registrations to avoid the perceived bad luck. This sort of behavior, fear of the number 13, even has its own specifically recognized phobia, Triskaidekaphobia. The … [Read more...]

Used car sales suffer as manufacturers go for broke

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As March is now upon us it appears that the car makers scrap for market share is hotting up. Some of our dealers are reporting a 50% increase in new car orders year on year and indeed many have already achieved their March objective and it's only the 1st of the month! Whilst this means many sales execs will have a rather tasty pay packet, on the … [Read more...]

Car Makers Premier League – January 2013

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A new year and a brand new competition. It’s time once more for the Car Makers Premier League where each and every month we examine the top 20 manufacturers by number of units registered and see just how they look when compared with the previous month. At the end of the year who will be crowned champion? Who will drop out of the top 20 as the year … [Read more...]

Is there something seriously wrong with the UK new car market?

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Here's a peculiar conundrum for you. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association new car registrations fell 8.5% in January to the lowest level for more than 20 years – Registrations fell to 918,280 new cars, and the ACEA said it is the slowest January since its records began in 1990. But in an amazing contrast, UK car buyers … [Read more...]

Do your homework and you may be able to afford a better car than you think

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Despite the bad weather we have recently had it looks like business is brisk although, on the downside, dealers are telling us that margins are under pressure. It is safe to assume that this is going to be a fairly important year and dealers are keen to ensure that q1 is set up to give them the best start possible. The competition with the new car … [Read more...]

With a “can do” attitude anything is possible!

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With high street retailers closing at a rapid rate it’s vital that businesses adapt to this seemingly never ending recession and the fact that the way we, as consumers, shop is changing just as rapidly. I was recently at a conference where after we’d sat through all the usual “state of the nation” and “how are we bearing up” speeches there then … [Read more...]

Car Makers Champions League 2012

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Decembers’ new car registration figures are in so who won the league? Who made it into Europe? Who got relegated? We can now take a look at the final table for 2012 and check the standings of the various top 20 manufacturers we have followed throughout the year in the Car Makers Premier League. The SMMT welcomes a better than expected year … [Read more...]

Bad news for Honda but no real surprises

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These are frightening times for workers at Honda with over 800 redundancies being planned less than a year after they announced a multimillion pound investment at their Swindon plant. In periods like this you sit back and wonder what the future holds if this can happen to a giant like Honda, and at this point I have to declare a personal … [Read more...]

Is it time to start scaling down the oppulent showroom?

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The way we buy cars is changing rapidly and car dealers are struggling to keep up with how they deal with the needs of the modern customer. However no matter how much technology improves our lives and empowers us as consumers, there will always be those that will buy in the traditional way. The irony is that as we have just had a record year … [Read more...]

What to expect in 2013

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As yet another topsy turvy year in the motor trade draws to a close, there are many things to be optimistic about and many lessons learned from these uncertain times. Behind every stat there is a story. For example, on the face of it, we will register more new cars than last year with a probable 5% increase which on the surface is fantastic but, … [Read more...]

Car Makers Premier League November 2012

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It’s time once more for the Car Makers Premier League where each and every month we examine the top 20 manufacturers by number of units registered and see just how they look when compared with the previous month. At the end of the year who will be crowned champion? Who will drop out of the top 20 as the year unfolds and which high achievers will be … [Read more...]