Motor manufacturers have stepped up their campaign in support of franchised dealers with changes to Block Exemption just over a year away.
In a statement, the SMMT warned trading standards departments, Citizens Advice Bureaux and courts to brace themselves for a deluge of complaints if there were a “free for all” market.
“New car buyers appear to be increasingly disillusioned with buying through unregulated websites or car supermarkets,” it adds. “Franchised dealers are well-trained product specialists.
Ian Lancaster, Virgin Cars chief executive, has criticised the SMMT's “gloomy predictions”. Writing in Automotive Management, he says “it is time the industry thought about this from the viewpoint of the consumer rather than solely protecting its own interests”.