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Suppliers accused as IT 'crashes to a halt'

Failing computer management systems are costing franchised dealers more than £167m a year, according to new research.

Contention Management, a specialist IT dispute resolution consultancy, surveyed 150 dealers across the UK and found that many were facing substantial extra costs by tolerating defective dealer management systems for months and sometimes years.

The report, 'Crashing to a halt: a survey of failing computer systems in Britain's car dealerships', blames both dealers and IT suppliers for the problems.

David Riley, marketing director of Contention Management, said: “Many users of IT systems do not have the IT skills to properly specify their requirements. Nor do they necessarily have the experience to vet and select good suppliers and negotiate the contract. Meanwhile, some IT suppliers often fail to give due regard to their customer's real needs.

According to the report, 56% of dealers had problems with new systems after installation and 35% found problems after paying for a significant upgrade. Of those that had problems, 85% said the trouble had persisted for up to a month without resolution and 78% said their systems did not entirely meet expectations.

One in six dealers claim faulty systems have cost them between £25,000 and £100,000 in staff overtime, wasted management effort and disruption. Taken across all dealerships, the total loss to the UK car retail sector is more than £167m.

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