AM Online

RMIF has ‘support’ of big groups

The RMIF believes it is seeing the first signs of a revival in its fortunes following the loss of a major dealer group, two waves of redundancies and a spell of internal turmoil.

Sue Robinson, its director in charge of the National Franchised Dealers Association, says there has been encouraging support for a series of road shows and the management shake-up.

“I have been to talk to the chief executives of most of the big groups, and I feel we have their support,” she says.

“We are also getting good attendances at our road shows where we are explaining the RMIF’s new direction to members around the UK.”

The year started badly when Eamon Bradley, chairman and chief executive of Jardine Motors, quit as NFDA chairman and pulled his group out of the RMIF.

Bradley declined to comment but it is believed he was concerned about potential financial liabilities for the RMIF’s elected representatives. The RMIF is due to pay off a £5.6m pensions deficit over the next 10 years.

Alec Murray, deputy chairman of the Caledonia Motor Group, took over as NFDA chairman for the remainder of Bradley’s two-year term. Early next year, the NFDA will elect a new chairman and, says Robinson, it is likely to be the head of a leading group. If it is, that would add authority to the RMIF.

Eight companies in the top 10 of the AM100 are NFDA members (including DaimlerChrysler Retail and Ford Retail). The exception are Arnold Clark, which is a member of the SMTA, and Jardine Motors. Camden Motors, AM100 No7, joined this year.

Matthew Carrington, RMIF chief executive, believes the organisation must be more proactive in protecting the interests of its members. He is leading a lobbying programme with Government and EU officials.

The redundancies were part of a programme to try to reduce the RMIF’s pension deficit. Carrington says this can now be managed, and that further redundancies are unlikely.

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