Our expectation in producing the spring 2009 AM100 was that, given the tumultuous year that was 2008, filling in questionnaires would be very low on the agenda.
We have been wrong-footed, as this year turns out to be the best for responses and a willingness to share the painful stories. So thank you to everyone who has taken the time to support these tables and provide as much data as possible.
The recession has been very pronounced and the speed with which it happened caught many by surprise.
The last four months of 2008 saw horrendous falls in used car values, to such a point that traders were even refusing to buy product for fear of losing value.
Manufacturers globally were forced to quickly rethink strategies and some of the support mechanisms hurt badly, causing steep declines in profitability and serious cash burns, prompting the industry to take over the spotlight from the banking sector as the number one to report on.
The question now is: ‘Will anything in this sector ever be the same again?’. Yes and no is the answer.
Within the sector in the UK, many of the national sales companies (NSCs) are wrestling with a similar issue and some good has come from the united approach shown by certain networks (albeit reluctantly in some cases) in delivering value to the customer.