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South African dealers see parity with UK

The similarities between the UK and South African new car markets and what the two industries can learn from each other were the main topics of discussion when the RMI’s National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) received a visit from South African dealers this week.

The delegation of dealers from South Africa was led by Paddy O’Brien of Sewells the South African dealer group.

O’Brien said that South African dealers take great interest in the development of the UK car sector: “There is an enormous amount to learn from each other. The predominance of groups is the biggest similarities, whereas the US and Australia, the sector is more based around smaller, family-run businesses. Large groups are able to take advantage of economies of scale, and this we take great interest in this.”

South African dealers are paying special attention to UK industry regulation.

O'Brien said: "We have tried to stay close to the development of the Block Exemption Regulation. The authorities in South Africa are dealing with much broader issues, but we do feel we need to see how this is unfolding. The UK market is more competitive, and we may be looking at our future."

Sue Robinson, National Franchise Dealers Association director, said: “As the new car sector becomes increasingly international, it is vital that we forge links with our colleagues in other countries. In today’s meeting we outlined the recent NFDA standards survey, and discussed the UK market.

"We also discussed the relationship between manufacturers and dealers as we move towards the next Block Exemption Regulation. The meeting with our South African colleagues proved to be both illuminating and very useful.”

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