Author: Richard Jones, managing director, Black Horse
As we reach the end of another remarkable year, I wanted to reflect on the challenges our industry has faced and how we have responded and adapted.
2018 has indeed been an incredible year, but it has not been without its challenges.
The natural flattening we experienced in 2017 has continued this year and we remain in an uncertain economic and political environment, which is certainly impacting customer confidence.
While the new car market has seen a decline overall, particularly during a disruptive September and with the impacts of WLTP noticeable into October, the used car market has remained robust, as we see many customers opting for nearly new rather than new vehicles.
There also continues to be a lot of customer confusion on fuel choice.
That said, the Government’s strategy is clear and robust, and the education and encouragement the industry is starting to provide to customers is already alleviating this problem.
We have seen numbers of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) rising throughout the year.
Finally, the challenge remains to ensure customers understand what they are buying when it comes to point-of-sale finance, with many still not clear on pricing, residual values and other technicalities of their contracts.
This is an area where dealers and finance providers can perhaps have the most impact, helping customers to understand their options and choose the right finance product for their needs.
I remain hugely impressed by the professionalism and high levels of customer service that dealers across the industry deliver.
They demonstrate exceptional expertise and support customers to make the right car and finance choices.
I spend a lot of time with our dealers throughout the country, understanding what makes their businesses tick and how they evolve to keep pace with the changing environment.
It’s fantastic to witness how they continue to provide such fantastic customer experiences.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2019.