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Motor Trade Monthly Round Up May 2017 News

What you need to know from the Motor Trade world from the merry month of May.

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Keeping up to date with the news in your trade can be an essential part of operating as a motor trader, so we’ve compiled the important stories from the month of May in one handy article.

Online Retailers To Move Further Into UK Automotive Market

Retail giants eBay and Amazon are looking to up their involvement in the automotive industry. It was announced this month that Amazon are looking at launching their new vehicle review service Amazon Vehicles in the UK. The service was launched in the USA last year and allows users to view images, videos, customer reviews and specifications for thousands of cars

Meanwhile, eBay announced it will offer tyre fitting services to German customers, as it continues to roll out the service in the US this summer – and the UK could soon join Germany and the USA, but a date is yet to be set for the service to be launched on eBay’s UK website.

Jay Hanson, Ebay’s Vice President of North America Merchandising, Hard Goods, said: “At Ebay, we’re focused on providing the most convenient shopping experience for our customers. Adding auto services as well as the TrueCar integration showcases our commitment to extending value and insight to buyers around the world.”

It’s not all good news for eBay though, as a BBC investigation revealed vehicles with false identities (registration number, chassis number and other documentation replaced with that of another vehicle) were being sold on the website – targeting prospective buyers in Greater Manchester by asking for cash on collection.

A spokesperson for eBay confirmed the eBay account responsible has been closed adding: “Cash on collection is very unusual and we would ask buyers to always pay via the platform when purchasing.”

Independent Garages Favoured By Consumers

It’s good news for independent traders as 53% of motorists would prefer to buy cars that would allow them to be serviced by independent garages, according to Servicing Stop.

A press release from the car servicing provider states: “This is in protest to manufacturers preventing small garages from servicing their cars.”

“Big brands are now following in the footsteps of BMW and Mercedes who already control where their vehicles can be serviced, and by who. The premium names have begun encrypting their car systems to such an advanced and sophisticated level that independent garages can no longer access the car’s inner server to find faults, repair damage or update the digital service records."

“Even the most technologically advanced garages are prevented from accessing the cars as brands hold digital keys which unlock the car’s software. This has already prevented hundreds of thousands of garages from taking on certain branded cars and the owners of these vehicles are left with no alternative other than to visit their manufacturer and pay the inflated cost.”

Success For Independent Garage Owner With Online Service

An independent garage owner from Birmingham has praised WhoCanFixMyCar after revealing that it provides him with 50% of his business, and as a result he plans to expand. Andy Wells, who owns Audy’s Autos, said: “Customers who have previously found the garage through the website are now coming back with more work because I have provided them with a friendly and professional service, which is all drivers want.”

“I’ll never have to ignore jobs when we open the new garage because I’ll have two other technicians on board and a receptionist responsible for quoting on work through WCFMC. It’s my life’s work coming together and it means the world to me.”

“This is what I am truly passionate about and opening the new garage is something I have wanted to do my entire life. I have been able to get there faster than I thought and there is no doubt that WCFMC has played a big part in that.”

Mixed Press For Diesels

According to a BuyaCar.co.uk survey of 1,000 drivers, 40% of those polled that said they own diesel cars, also said that they would change to a different fuel system for their next car. The figures showed that 35% said they would switch to petrol, 20% would look at hybrids and 5% would consider an electric vehicle.

However it was reported earlier in the month that the majority of dealers would not be adding more hybrid and electric vehicles to their stock despite growing concerns about diesel cars on the back of negative press attention. Only 18% of those polled by cap-hpi said they would look into alternatively fuelled vehicles, with a whopping 78% saying they wouldn’t.

Philip Nothard, Consumer and Retail Editor at cap hpi, said: “In the context of the fuel debate this shows that dealers are overwhelmingly supportive of diesel and are not deterred by negativity in the media surrounding the perceived issues.”

“Faced with questioning around changing stock profiles against the backdrop of negative press exposure surrounding diesel engines and if this was influencing their future stock decisions, the findings indicate that dealer sentiment was very clear; they wouldn’t buckle under pressure from consumer media speculation.”

However according to BCA, that might not be the case after an action house trialling a series of e-Auctions for electric and hybrid vehicles outperformed expectations.

Max Brough, e-Auction Manager, said: “A focused approach to the sale of electric and hybrid vehicles has delivered some strong results. They are open to anyone with a live online login, and all bidding is done remotely. The prices achieved are a testament to the quality of the vendors and growing popularity of our online platforms.”

Online sales might very much be part of our future and could cost 27,000 automotive sales jobs in the UK by 2027, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research for Trustpilot.

Christian Jaccarini, an economist at CEBR, said, “As automotive retailers establish online platforms and consumer behaviour adjusts, we expect to see car sales shift online, as seen in other industries.”

“Transaction numbers may be small at present, but recent evidence suggests that businesses which fail to accommodate changes in consumer behaviour will leave themselves exposed in years to come.”