The Consumers' Association has caused new resentment in the motor industry by selling Carbusters.com, its 'not for profit' internet car import operation, for £1.3m. The purchaser is Bizzbuild.com.
Manufacturers have been infuriated by the association's backing for a 'Great British rip-off' campaign designed to force them to cut new car prices. The Consumers' Association launched Carbusters. com to increase the pressure by undercutting manufacturer list prices.
Christopher Macgowan, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive, called for the Consumers' Association profits to be given to Ben, the automotive industry charity.
Mr Macgowan said: “I am appalled to learn that an organisation claiming to work for the benefit of its members should be making more than £1m on a venture that was described as 'not for profit'.
“We call on the Consumers' Association to end its Great British rip-off and give this bonus profit to the motor industry benevolent fund (Ben).”
The CA responded by saying it would keep the money, which will be paid over three years. A spokeswoman said: “The money is going to a registered charity – the Consumers' Association. We will use it to continue our campaign for fair car prices in the UK and to fund other campaigns in the consumers' interest. We didn't make any money from the Carbusters' operation.”
The Consumers' Association says Carbusters.com sold 1,700 cars with an average saving of £3,000 per vehicle on manufacturers' list prices.
“We have sold the operation because, to continue to grow. it needs a company prepared to invest properly in it,” the spokeswoman said.
The CA will continue to help manage the site, which will be co-branded with the Which? logo and Bizzbuild's.