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Daily news round upBack

Why the FCA’s GAP deferment is bad for customers


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s publication of proposed remedies for the GAP insurance market has raised serious concerns for the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) over the four day deferment period in which a dealer cannot sell a GAP policy to a customer.

Our primary concern is dealers being able to deliver the highest customer service. A dealer faced with a customer who is in the showroom having bought a car and wants to buy GAP insurance is going to have a difficult conversation with the customer if the transaction cannot be done there and then.

Explaining to that customer they will need to return to the showroom later in the week, perhaps on a day when they are at work, is not going to go down well and could potentially reflect badly on the customer’s perception of the service level the dealer is offering.

There is also another significant issue concerning finance. As the proposed FCA remedies stand, a dealer is likely to have to sell a vehicle to the customer and propose the finance as normal. However, if that customer decides they want to finance the GAP insurance, or (as is often the case) use some of their deposit to fund a GAP policy, it is likely the customer will have to have a further check for finance at the end of the deferment period.

This means potentially two finance proposals that will leave two credit footprints on a customer’s record and could potentially affect the customer in any future finance agreements.

Sue Robinson is director of the National Franchised Dealers Association


Economic confidence drive increases in van and truck sales in April

The commercial vehicle market is experiencing strong growth with figures up 23.5% against sales from April 2014. As sales continue to increase, 2015 is seeing growth of 16.4%.

In the 12th consecutive month, van registrations for commercial vehicles (CVs) up to 3.5tonne are showing an increase of nearly 21%. All weight sectors have performed well, with more than 4300 additional light CVs being registered this April.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said: “Healthy demand is being driven by several factors: competitive financial offers from dealers and manufacturers, growth and upsurge in self-employment, the service industries and continual increases in demand for home deliveries via internet sales.

“The turnaround in demand for heavy CVs has been spectacular, with an increase of 43.5% in April and a total of 41.7% in the first four months of the year.

“The biggest increase in demand has come from two main areas. The first in the over 16 tonnes rigid trucks, often used in construction and cleansing/waste management. The second in 44t tractor units that are used for logistics and supply for retail demand of supermarket chains.

“In the first 4 months of last year, 3493 tractors were registered, this year in the same four months 5660 tractors have been put on the road, that is a huge 70% increase.

“It is very encouraging to see this level of improvement in the demand for heavy CVs, especially following last years’ time consuming EU Type Approval regulations for completed bodied trucks. With the impending election results, we look forward to the next government being supportive of CVs and the transport industry.”



PSA pushes ahead with ambitious plans for DS in the UK

PSA is pushing ahead with ambitious plans for its DS brand in the UK.

It is dropping the most basic store format, the zone, to give the brand greater separation from Citroen.

In Europe DS has three outlet formats the DS Zone (the most basic), DS Salon (displaying three or four models) and the advanced DS Store.

This year it will decide which Citroen dealers will take on which formats for the franchise for contracts to go live in 2018.

In the UK 175 of the 185 dealers currently have a DS Zone. Five dealers have so far delivered the DS Salon format in Exeter, Plymouth, Poole, Weston Super Mare and Maidstone. PSA said no dealer as yet has delivered a Store but plans are in development.

PSA said after 2018 there will be no zone basic formats in the UK. The network will have 25 Stores and an unspecified number of Salons.

PSA said it would go outside the Citroen network for dealer partners if necessary.

“Our preference is to work with our existing Citroen Dealer Network and partners.

“However, if there are territories where there is no current Citroen partner we will look to address this through recruiting new investors to our brand,” it said.

Arnaud Leclerc, DS brand development director, said the brand had finalised the number of DS dealers it needs to appoint based on locations and demographics.



‘Free meal’ Audi garage reaches £700 restaurant bill deal

An Audi garage which was hit with a £700 restaurant bill by a customer who was offered a compensatory “free” meal has agreed to cover the full cost.

Siobhan Yap, 27, dined at Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon after her car was damaged by a delivery vehicle on the company’s forecourt.

Watford Audi initially said it would pay half of the “excessive” tab.

But it has since agreed to pay Ms Yap £250, with the remainder going to a charity of her choice.

Ms Yap said she was “very happy”.

Her Audi A3 convertible – which she had bought second-hand for £20,000 – was hit while parked at the garage.

When it offered to cover the cost of a meal for two “for the inconvenience caused”, Ms Yap treated her mother to dinner, and ran up the £714.61 bill at the Covent Garden restaurant.



Peugeot Citroen bosses establish dealer forums to tackle “disappointing” opinions of the brands

PSA bosses have revealed how they were tackling the “incredibly disappointing” opinion dealers have of Peugeot and Citroen.

The most recent Dealer Attitude Survey – winter 2015 – saw dealers score both brands below average, when asked the critical question ‘how would you rate your manufacturer overall?’. They suffered the worst decline since the summer survey, alongside Skoda, in the National Franchised Dealer Attitude study.

“Citroen’s score of 5.1 (out of 10) is the lowest for some time and has fallen from a score in line with the average to one significantly beneath,” the NFDA said.

“Peugeot’s score has for some time been beneath average but the score of 4.9 for this survey moves them to third from bottom in the table.”

Bek Hassan, Citroen UK brand director, said: “The NFDA survey results were extremely disappointing. As a result we’re talking about what can be done to address them.

“We’re putting together dealer forums to find out what the issues are, through open dialogue.”

Neil Moscrop, Peugeot UK brand director, believed a cause was the disruption of reorganisation at PSA.

“There was a reorganisation two years ago and another two years before and together with some iffy results, investors [dealers] will have concerns.”

The two said 75% of the PSA UK network (185 Citroen dealers, 221 Peugeot) are profitable.

The average return on sale is 1.2% for Citroen and 1% for Peugeot.

Moscrop and Hassan stressed that the top 75% are achieving 1.5%, but the poor performance of the bottom quartile bring the average down.

Moscrop said: “We’ve taken the new car profit per unit from £800 to above £1,200 – and have the objective to get the average RoS for the network to 1.5%.”

When asked when, he said “we’re not very far away now”.



City Auction Group launches fleet management department

Auction firm City Auction Group has created a new fleet management department, following significant growth and development of its corporate vendor portfolio.

The new department will support the firm’s operations in Rockingham and Belfast and will be headed up Lynne Girvan (pictured), fleet management department manager.

Her responsibilities will be managing processes, procedures and payments to ensure that City Auction Group provides a consistent, highly professional service. Formerly fleet sales manager at City Auction Group, Girvan joined the firm in 2010.

She is being be supported by two new fleet management assistants, Christina Maxwell and Rachel Watson.

All City Auction Group corporate fleet accounts will be handled by this new team, based at the firm’s head office.

Michael Tomalin, managing director of City Auction Group, said: “The introduction of our new fleet management department will cement our commitment to this vital sector and enable us to grow and develop our portfolio of corporate vendors. It will also ensure we provide a first class service to our clients, with a dedicated team of account handlers.



Ford supplies 189 Transit Custom vans to SGN gas engineers

Ford is supplying SGN, which manages the gas distribution network to 5.8 million homes and businesses in the UK, with 189 Ford Transit Custom vans.

The vans will play a vital role in SGN’s ‘first call’ emergency response fleet, used by engineers called to gas emergencies. There are 400 vans in this role for SGN across Scotland and southern England.

A key factor for SGN in making the purchase was the Ford Transit Custom’s ‘load-through’ bulkhead, which permits floor-level carrying of three-metre-long gas pipes.

“This eliminates the need for our engineers to load heavy copper piping at higher than head height, so there is reduced potential for an accident,” said Paul Davies, SGN fleet manager.

“These vans are on the go 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so they have not only to be economical, reliable and spacious but also to provide a good working environment for operators. They have to be right for our drivers, and the Ford Transit Custom certainly meets their requirements.”

SGN’s Ford Transit Custom vans are short wheelbase, high roof variants equipped with a 2.2-litre TDCi 100PS power unit. They feature a bespoke stainless steel racking system by specialist converter Tevo, in addition to safety steps, additional lighting, load area heating and safe storage areas.

Stephen Gafson, Ford Direct sales, said: “It’s good to know the safety of SGN’s millions of customers is being entrusted to engineers who have a fleet of new Ford vans at their disposal. The Transit Custom’s enhanced levels of safety and comfort will help them to perform their vital duties as quickly and efficiently as possible.”



Brinks France chooses Fleetmatics

Brinks France has chosen Fleetmatics to support 1000 French vehicles for five years.

“We are thrilled to have entered this agreement with Brink’s, which is our first enterprise win in France,” said Jim Travers, Fleetmatics CEO and Chairman.

“Security and peace of mind is at the core of what Brink’s delivers to their customers. And to Fleetmatics, this agreement demonstrates the power of the business intelligence our solution helps provide to its users to help further evolve their global focus on delivering the highest level of customer service standards.”

Founded in 1859, Brink’s, security services provider, is popularly known for its bullet-resistant armoured trucks which are used to securely transport money and valuable goods.

The company is to use Fleetmatics’ Reveal software as a service pacakge.



DS launches greener six-speed automatic gearbox on DS3

DS has revealed a six-speed automatic gearbox for its DS3 model. DS said the gearbox allows smoother gear changes and reduces CO2 emissions.

CO2 emissions are rated at 108g/km for the hatchback and 112g/km for the convertible version. In DStyle trim level, the hatchback is priced from £17,495, while the cabrio is priced from £19,495 in DStyle trim.

The new transmission saves 42g/km of CO2 compared to the previous generation VTi four-speed automatic gearbox.

Equipped with the PureTech 110 S&S engine and the new gearbox, the hatchback now achieves 60.1mpg, while convertible versions hit 57.6mpg.

The DS3 was the 31st most popular fleet car in 2014 with 11,684 registrations. It fell six places compared to 2013’s result. Citroen – which is DS’s parent company – was ninth largest fleet car maker in terms of volume in 2014, up one place on 2013’s result.

Arnaud Leclerc is the deputy director general of PSA Peugeot Citroen and brand development director for DS, while Neil Moscrop is the brand director for Peugeot and Bek Hassan is brand director for Citroen and DS.

Brand directors are responsible for the sales & marketing operations of each brand.



Patrick McLoughlin continues as Secretary State for Transport

The new Conservative Government has confirmed Patrick McLoughlin will continue as Secretary of State for Transport.

McLoughlin was confirmed as remaining in his position following a series of announcements revealing cabinet positions.

During a Government reshuffle in 2012, McLoughlin was moved to his current role from the Government’s Chief Whip.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Kramer and Conservative John Hayes occupied the roles of Transport Minister and Minister of State at Department for Transport respectively through the last coalition Government, however Number 10 has not confirmed who will be occupying their roles.

Hayes was re-elected in his constituency of South Holland and The Deepings.

In its manifesto, the Tories promised they would invest more than £6 billion in the northern road network, and add 1300 extra lane miles to the road network by 2021, while fixing around 18 million potholes as part of a wider £13bn investment in transport in the north.

In the south west, the M5, A30, A303 and A358 will be upgraded to improve connections to the area, while the A11 and A47 will be upgraded in East Anglia to improve transport connections in the region.

The Conservatives have pledged £500 million over the next five years to promote the adoption of zero emission cars and vans, with the goal of having the majority of vehicles on UK roads emitting no exhaust pollution by 2050.



Prasco turns 10

Prasco UK Ltd, or to be precise the original company behind the supplier of independently certified crash replacement parts, is celebrating its 10th anniversary today.

Ten years ago to the day, managing director Kelvyn Waugh and procurement director, Darren Egan formed the business and over the past decade, the duo have grown the company beyond all recognition.

From a humble small unit with a single delivery vehicle, the business now operates out of a colossal 80,000sqft warehouse and, through its large vehicle fleet, is now able supply any repairer within the UK, including Northern Ireland, with almost any part and repair peripheral within hours of receiving an order.

In March 2014, the business officially became part of the pan-European Prasco family, effectively unifying its pan-European investments including parts supply specialists in Italy, Germany, Spain, and Croatia, a move which ensures Prasco’s progression to become the leading supplier of OE and certified non-OEM crash repair parts throughout the continent.

Prasco UK Ltd now boasts a product line in excess of 18,000 – a figure that is expected to double by the end of the year through further inward investment and partnership development.
Commenting on the major milestone, Kelvyn said, ‘It’s incredible to think that here we are, 10 years on from forming the business, and we’re the UK’s leading supplier of independently certified replacement parts with a network of bodyshops using our products the length and breadth of Britain.

‘Ten years in business is a major milestone, but when we consider just what we’ve achieved over the past decade makes myself and Darren really excited for what the next 10 years will bring.’




Ford introduces free service app

Ford has introduced a new service app designed to benefit the owners of Ford vehicles within the UK and across Europe.

The Ford service app, available to download for free on Apple iOS and Google Android devices, provides the user with local information and useful tips, including an ability to locate the nearest petrol station or Ford dealer.

A number of safety provisions are also available to the user. Using GPS, the app can identify the location of an accident anywhere in Europe and connect to the emergency services through the Ford Helpline. The app also provides first aid tips, including how to rescue someone from a vehicle and correctly place them in the recovery position, and safety instructions for what to do at the scene of an accident.

The service app enables the user to:
• Connect to the Ford Assistance Helpline in an emergency, using GPS to provide a location anywhere in Europe.
• Locate the nearest Ford dealer within the UK, providing an address, contact number and option to book a vehicle service.
• Identify international traffic signs and rules when driving abroad, and the function of vehicle warning lamps on the instrument panel. It also includes a Ford Technology guide with videos explaining Ford vehicle technologies.
• Browse Ford’s range of vehicle accessories.
• Find out more about Ford’s BlueService package, including Motorcraft 4+.
• Create a road trip or holiday checklist of what is required while travelling, including a ‘Park Me’ feature, which logs the location of where a vehicle is parked, and tracks the time elapsed since a parking ticket was issued.
• Create a ‘damage report’, which can generate a PDF report at the scene of an accident.

This is the latest addition to Ford’s universal commitment to its retail customers, known as Ford BlueService. It is a collection of promises to assure customers.


Posted by Lois Hardy on 11/05/2015