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Finance: 2012 was a springboard for this year

Many dealer groups have plans to ramp up showroom sales now they are taking a record 70.8% of the total, writes Tony Willard.

The chief executive of an AM100 group said: “We see retail loans as a major source of income based on our success with them last year. We’re recruiting up to 12 business managers to increase advances on used as well as new cars. Manufacturers are becoming more willing to work with dealers on loans.”

Specialist lenders are also pressing home the advantage. Harvey Stead, Close Motor Finance sales director, said: “We believe all successful providers will need to be more proactive in the short term to cater for a market that continues to fluctuate.

“We continued to listen to our dealer partners in 2012 and made significant investments in our IT infrastructure and product development.”

Stead said this was to ensure a positive retail offering in the first quarter, adding that Close was likely to make product announcements this year based on strengthening its dealer relationships.

Dealers wanting to provide car loans successfully needed a business partner, not simply a provider of funding, he said.

Close plans to develop sales training, prospect lead generation and bespoke point-of-sale material for dealers this year. Product announcements based on closer dealer relationships are expected.

Close has some concerns about 2013. Stead said manufacturer captive finance providers’ cut-throat new car deals would continue to have a knock-on effect on used car retail buyers’ expectations within the used car market.

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