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Yesterday, I attended the European Car Dealers’ conference in Brussels with our legal counsel (Miles Trower of TLT). Senior representatives of the EU Commission and the manufacturer body, ACEA, were present. Aside from the Volkswagen crisis and the potential liability to different regulators and its customers, including its dealers, the NFDA argued that whatever the eventual outcome, an important question is whether the current situation is simply a symptom of a sector where the most powerful companies in the supply chain are persistently indulged by those that regulate them. This extends to the topic of unfair trading practices where the benign treatment of manufacturers over recent years by EU and domestic governments has further distorted the imbalance in power between manufacturers and their major customers, dealers. If this imbalance continues to be left unchecked, and action is confined to emissions testing and compliance, is it inevitable that other abuses will not be addressed. We have to remember that it has taken six years and the intervention of a non-EU agency for this crisis to come to light. A climate of fear and uncertainty is not an unusual feature of dealer/manufacturer relations. If EU governments have a genuine desire to make the sector better for the consumer, and more efficient and transparent, they need to take a wider perspective and focus on a range of measures beyond simple emissions. Meaningful and immediate action on business-to-business unfair trading practices would be one of a number of steps in the right direction. Further information on the conference will be provided in next week’s edition.
The NAMA data reports were published this week. The car report shows that the average sale price in August increased by £230 on the July 2015 figure from £5,358 to £5,588. The average value of used LCV’s at auction across the board increased 1% in August to £4,771 – this is the second highest value this year, beaten only by the average prices that were achieved in January. For a full copy of the reports please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, members will be aware the new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) comes into effect from 1 October. In this week’s news we have featured a document outlining the ‘Terms and Conditions of Sale for Motor Vehicles’ provided by MILS. Members can direct consumers to the National Conciliation Service (NCS) who can be contacted on 017888 538317, should a dispute arise.
Sue Robinson, Director