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Volatile future for industry

The decision by Sainsbury's to increase its interest in car sales is the latest evidence of future dynamic change in the retail motor industry. Trends will be debated at 'Motor retailing 2005', Automotive Management's autumn conference, to be held at the London Olympia Conference Centre on September 26. Making the case for the need for change will be Ian Lancaster, chief executive, Virgin Cars, which is claiming immediate success. Professor Garel Rhys, of Cardiff Business School, will chair the conference and examine influential industry issues in the UK and other countries. Alan Pulham, National Franchised Dealers Association director, accepts that companies like Virgin Cars have found a place in the market. He believes though they will be absorbed into the existing retail structure. Mark Squires, chief executive, Benfield, which won the gold accolade for large dealer group in last year's Automotive Management Awards, will explain the changes he believes motor retailers must make. David Barker, of Mountainview, the London brand consultancy, will debate the power of the competing brands of carmakers, dealers and new entrants. KPMG, one of the conference's sponsors, will present research into trends in motor retailing and use an electronic voting system which was so successful last year.

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