The reasons appear to be a lower demand for finance than franchised dealers and the fragmented nature of the sector.
One independent dealer says: “I am using a broker more and more, and will probably switch to just using them soon. We do little finance, and they do all the work for you.”
Independents with small business appear to feel neglected by finance houses and many are dissatisfied with the service they receive.
Slowness in being paid is another pressure for independents. “It has taken me three months to sort out the commission,” says one.
“Proposals get lost, and the finance house representative only turns up when they want something.”
Independent dealers say they have been affected by tougher rules governed by the FSA since 2005.
“All finance companies have gone downhill,” says one dealer. “Customers are continually changed from one plan to another. Finance providers are less flexible and more expensive.”