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The NFDA has a crucial role as the voice of the franchised retailer. Over many years the NFDA has developed a strong relationship with the government which allows us to effectively lobby on dealers’ behalf on important issues.
Notable successes over the past years include the car scrappage scheme back in 2009, the delay in the removal of the vehicle specific Block Exemption and, more recently, influencing the FCA’s remedies for the GAP market.
Following the decision to leave the EU and with the likely challenges ahead, it is essential that every possible effort is made to ensure that the automotive industry, one of the strongest segments of the UK economy, continues to perform well.
The UK retail automotive sector is the second largest market in Europe and, with a record 2.63 million cars registered in 2015 and over 500,00 people employed, it is one of the key contributors to the UK economy.
Meetings with government and officials take place on a regular basis and include the regular party conferences in the Autumn, this year I attended both Conservative and Labour. Meetings took place with a number of MPs and Ministers, where we discussed a range of issues affecting dealers including: mileage fraud, apprenticeships and Brexit.
One of the issues on the agenda currently is mileage fraud. Following our tireless campaign, we are pleased to see that the government issued a consultation recently looking for views on the problem. We have responded to the consultation and are now awaiting the outcome. We have urged the government to outlaw the practice of mileage adjustment and to act swiftly.
We continue to lobby strongly on the introduction of the apprenticeship levy which we believe to be rushed and should be delayed.
We also work closely with the SMMT to highlight the strong role the UK plays in the global motor industry. We will be looking thoroughly at contractual issues following Brexit and will continue to voice with manufacturers the areas that affect dealers. We are also able to advise members on commercial and contractual matters.
For automotive retailing to be healthy, dealers need to have a strong relationship with their manufacturers. We also produce a twice yearly Dealer Attitude Survey, an extremely well-respected and valued document on the health of the dealer manufacturer relationship.
We have also recently launched the Consumer Attitude Survey to highlight the current position of dealers in the consumer aftermarket sector. This is the first of its kind and we hope it will become a valued analysis of the marketplace.