This report will ensure that the hottest topic of the AM/NFDA Autoretailing conference sponsored by Experian on June 5 will be the future competitiveness of UK motor retail.
The EC will be present at Autoretailing to reveal its latest thinking, while an exploration of the EC’s recommendations will be carried out by analysts from the International Car Distribution Programme.
Following that, delegates will be able to choose a break-out session to explore Block Exemption in more depth with Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, and competition law expert Miles Trower, of Osborne Clarke.
Trower told AM: “If the sector-specific regulation is not replaced, we will discuss the likely alternative, the possibility of self-regulation and what practical implications this is likely to have for dealers, authorised repairers and other industry players.
“We may cover issues such as the likely continuation of selective distribution, the use of agency and the likelihood of further vertical integration by manufacturers.”
The NFDA has lobbied for retention of the existing Block Exemption regulation, introduced in 2002, which it believes has given dealers and repairers greater freedom, although it acknowledges that the potential for such freedoms has not yet been fully realised.
However, it wants a number of refinements. It wants to encourage the EC to look more closely at issues such as targets and target setting as well as unauthorised sales channels.
Dealers want many of their existing rights preserved or improved, such as multi-franchising, access to competing parts, separation of selective and exclusive distribution, separation of sales and service facilities and effective dispute resolution.
#AM_ART_SPLIT# The faces of Autoretailing
A broadcaster, having presented The Money Programme, Tonight and Panorama, James Bellini has a track record in analysing the future issues that will affect business, with a strong emphasis on retailing, information technology, brand values and corporate reputation.
Annette Sykora is the keynote speaker of Autoretailing 08. As chairman of America’s National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), and head of her own family dealer group in Texas, she will share how issues like recruitment, dealer profitability and environmental pressures are being tackled in the USA.
Mark Lavery began his motor retail career as a service receptionist and progressed through sales and regional management at several groups, including Harwell. Now the founder and chief executive of Cambria Automotive, he is in charge of a top 25 AM100 motor retail group which acquired Summit Group in January and now has 23 dealerships.
For more than a decade, Kathy Stiff has combined her experience of managing customer service operations for companies such as Audi, Volkswagen and Nissan, with her skills as a customer care practitioner. She is an expert in developing best practice for customer retention and loyalty.
Jay Nagley started in the car industry as a market analyst with Porsche, before branching out into web development through his business, Spider Redspy. It runs a range of dealer websites for customers, including Inchcape and Hartwell, plus consumer motoring sites for Channel 4 and Fifth Gear.
A senior associate within the competition and commercial department of law firm Osborne Clarke, Miles Trower spearheads its automotive practice in the UK. He is a regular adviser on all aspects of UK and EU competition law, and acts for the RMIF’s National Franchised Dealers Association on Block Exemption lobbying.
Michelle Mone left school aged 15 with no qualifications. Just 11 years later, facing redundancy from Labatts Brewers, she spotted a gap in the lingerie market for a comfortable, cleavage-enhancing bra, and co-founded MJM International. After three years of development, she launched the Ultimo range, now sold internationally. A winner of the World Young Business Achiever Award in 2000, Mone admits to having built her career on a simple concept – giving women what they want.
As director of the NFDA, Sue Robinson is a key spokeswoman for dealers’ concerns over franchise viability, profitability, retail practices and regulation.
Adrian Joseph heads Google’s automotive industry team, charged with maximising value and presence for the online giant’s vehicle manufacturer and dealer clients. He is a huge source of tips on getting the best from online marketing, website best practice and internet opportunities.