The original deadline, set by the National Consumer Council, was September this year, but the NCC relented on its threat to issue a supercomplaint because it recognized the work undertaken by the industry to develop the code of practice. Its deadline of September 2007 for stage two OFT approval remains, however.
“We are confident we will deliver by the stage two deadline – we have to do it because of the super-complaint,” says Putnam. “It’s crunch time and we are determined to get our house in order.”
The code, driven forward by the Society of Motor Manufacturers, has been renamed the Retail Motor Strategy Group code of practice to distance it from the SMMT.
Earlier this year a row broke out between the SMMT and the RMIF, whose then chief executive Matthew Carrington accused the manufacturer body of ‘hi-jacking’ the code.
Members of the RMSG board privately admit they expect the code of practice process to become smoother following Carrington’s departure from the RMIF.
“By calling it the RMSG code of practice we hope to take away some of the passion that was flowing when it was the SMMT code,” adds Putnam, who is also SMMT president.
That’s a role he will be stepping down from at the end of this year, to be replaced by Toyota Motor Europe senior vice-president Graham Smith.
Speaking at the SMMT annual dinner, Smith pledged to continue supporting the RMSG in its bid to facilitate the code of practice.
“This will be one of my priorities: to support the work of the Retail Motor Strategy Group and see the new code of practice through to fruition,” he said.