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'Government must listen to us more' says dealer body

The Government should pay greater attention to motor retailers because of their numbers and the amount they contribute to the UK economy.

Peter Johnson, made the call at last night's Retail Motor Industry Federation annual dinner in London.

The RMI's deputy chairman told guests the retail sector employs 600,000 people and contributes £50 billion to the annual economy.

"Too often government listens intently to the manufacturing sector but takes scant account of the interests of retailers.

"I would suggest given the importance to the economy of these 8,000 businesses, that needs to change."

He also said the National Franchised Dealers Association (a part of the RMI) is continuing to lobby "both in Westminster and Brussels...seeking a level playing field with our manufacturer partners".

Expanding on the issue, NFDA director Sue Robinson said it had been clear from attending party conferences in the summer that MPs were ignorant of the investment - and impact - of dealer network on local economies.

"I asked MPs if they had visited dealerships in their constituencies. The answer was no. But you'd think understanding the local impact of dealers' contribution you'd be important in the run up to elections."

On the significant and on-going issue of the manufacturer code of conduct, Robinson said that in appealing to the UK government to put more pressure on manufacturers to enter a dialogue with dealers on the issue she had been told "we would if Europe told us we should".

"We want the UK to understand that there are two parties involved in motor retailing in the UK and there should be more equality in the voice that gets heard and the attention dealer receive," she said.

On the issue of the potential initiation of a "legally binding solution" by the European Commission to improve relations between franchised dealers and manufacturers (part of the CARS2020 project), Robinson said was on hold while manufacturers agreed to talks. "ACEA said it was very difficult to even get the manufacturers together to agree on their position."


EC threatens to use legislation to force manufacturers to work to code of conduct

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