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Dealers under pressure from environment focus

Fleet and private customers may put dealers under increasing pressure to prove their green credentials as interest in environmental issues continues to grow, according to Network Automotive.

The automotive consultancy points out that the motor industry's thrust to clean up its act environmentally in recent years has covered the design and manufacture of the vehicles themselves and the way they perform on the road - but has so far largely ignored dealers, independent garages and fast fits.

Colin Bruder, managing director, said: "Interest in environmental matters is increasing rapidly and many larger companies across different industries have pledged to make their activities much greener in the future.

"Customers - both fleet and private - are more and more concerned about the green impact of their motoring but it is a subject where dealers and other maintenance outlets have done little to show they are taking the lead. They may come under pressure to change this stance in the near future."

Bruder pointed to the fact that several large companies including many buyers of vehicles and aftersales services have stated that they wish to become carbon neutral or significantly cut their CO2 emissions.

He said: "Companies like these will want to conduct a top-to-bottom review of their processes, looking in detail at their carbon footprint, and they will be asking suppliers to play their part. This will include dealers."

Bruder said that processes that dealers could be asked to look at might include everything from disposal of used parts and consumables in the workshop to infrastructure basics like paper and power use.

He added: "The question here is whether dealers should take a lead or wait for external parties like customers or their manufacturers to ask for them to meet stated environmental criteria?

"The answer to this probably depends on the customer base of each dealer. If a large part of your business comes from a fleet that is likely to start demanding certain standards, then you have little choice.

"Another point to consider is whether you may be able to pass on some of the cost of making your operations more environmentally friendly - for example, could you charge more for 'greener' servicing?"

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