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Unofficial importers step up pressure on retailers

Unofficial importers are considering joining forces to reduce the cost of bringing new Japanese cars to the UK in a move that would increase pressure on franchised dealers.

David Hendry, owner of David Hendry Cars, believes the new Enhanced Single Vehicle Approval and Model Report regulations, introduced by the EU this month, give importers an opportunity to share reports on different models.

He said: “This would allow us to bring in a wider range of new models at a lower cost. But at the moment there are few importers that have applied for ESVA.”

DHC has stepped up the pressure on Subaru and Isuzu dealers after obtaining ESVA and Model Report for the Subaru Impreza WRX Sti and the Isuzu Trooper 3.0TD Automatic.

Unofficial imports from outside the EU require an ESVA and Model Report or de-registration document. From November, the ESVA will be mandatory.

Mr Hendry said: “The new rules will mean it is not cost-effective for companies who import a small number of vehicles. The ESVA and Model Report costs between £3,000-£4,000 for each type of model.”

DHC, a terminated franchised Subaru/Isuzu retailer, sells the unofficial imports from its TVR dealership in Malmesbury, Wilts. It intends to exploit the investment by selling Model Reports to other importers and also plans to obtain reports for more models.

“We are looking to get more involved in vehicle wholesale as well as retail. If a dealer wants an imported Japanese car, we will be able to source it for them,” said Mr Hendry. “They can either buy it ready to retail with full documentation or we can supply the Model Report and they can do the rest.

“I would like the business to be split 50-50 between wholesale and retail, but it depends on several factors, including Block Exemption.”

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