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Time to look at the cost of franchise audits

The RMI’s strategy board has given its backing to the new NFDA working group, which met for the first time in December.

On the agenda are Block Exemption, including franchise standards and audits, and other legislation affecting the industry. Sue Robinson, RMI franchised dealers director, is keen to put in place a long-term plan that will involve constructive conversations with carmakers rather than taking a combative approach.

“This is about upping the NFDA’s status with Government, carmakers and other decision makers, and building a strong body for dealers,” she says.

Robinson was due in Brussels this week to meet, among others, Paolo Cesarini, head of the European Commission’s competition unit, to set the framework for future discussions over Block Exemption 2010. “We need to be there at any early stage,” she adds.

The working group of eight dealers is due to meet every quarter. Although discussing a wide range of topics, it will dedicate some of its time to franchise standards and audits. Dealers are unhappy with the way they are being treated by auditors.

One group boss says: “I have just lost a valued dealer principal, working with us for more than 10 years, solely because she could not stand the manufacturer’s auditing procedures any longer.”

He believes the situation is getting worse and calls for carmaker bosses to look at the cost and disruption that audits are causing.

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