NFDA director Sue Robinson has insisted that the association will have “teeth” as it pursues dealers’ interests in an opening address to its annual Autumn Roadshow.
Speaking at the event at Warwick’s Hilton hotel, Robinson said that she had encountered “one of the strangest years, politically, ever” but insisted that the NFDA would be working hard to ensure that dealers seized any opportunities arising from the changes in leadership and the UK’s eventual departure from the EU.
Potential changes to the block exemption rules and the protection of dealer margins as manufacturers come under pressure from currency fluctuations and potential export tariffs were on the agenda at last Friday’s event, along with insight into FCA actions and cartel prosecutions within vehicle trading.
Robinson said: “We constantly talk about the manufacturers and the inward investment that they bring and the government reassures us that Britain is ‘open for business’, but the dealers invest more and should have a greater influence due to the sheer number of people they employ.
“As an organisation we are there to represent the views of our members and we are not afraid to raise our heads above the parapet. We will take on manufacturers where the issues are valid.
“We will challenge so please, please do contact us. We will look into your case. We do have the teeth.”
Robinson admitted that she was responding to apparent criticism, in AM, of the NFDA’s handling of fall-out from the Volkswagen Group’s dieselgate scandal.
One dealer, who asked to remain anonymous, described the association as “toothless” when compared to authorities across the Atlantic which had secured a £920 million compensation package for the US network of 652 franchised dealers.
Robinson said that that the issue had been discussed in meeting with NFDA members, but had received no direct representation from dealers regarding dieselgate.
One dealer who attended last week’s Autumn Roadshow encouraged Robinson to take a strong stance in future negotiations with manufacturers. He said: “When we are in negotiations with a manufacturer we feel alone. They will threaten us with big sticks. We really need a strong NFDA.”