As you read this, AM has begun collating the data for the 2017 AM100 listings of the UK’s largest franchised dealer groups. When we did so last year, we asked the participating finance directors and managing directors whether they were for or against the UK leaving the European Union. A resounding 98% responded against, with many commenting that they feared it would be bad for their business.
So here we are. Not only has Theresa May invoked Article 50 and begun the formal process for a Brexit, but she has called a general election for June 8. The pound is still a lot weaker against the dollar and euro than it was prior to last June’s EU referendum. And the newspapers pick up on any snippet that leaks from our Government or the EU.
But there has been no catastrophic news as yet that has driven your customers to tighten their purse strings, refinance their PCP balloon payment and cling tightly to the steering wheel of their three-year-old car for a few more years.
Britta Seeger, a board member of Mercedes-Benz Cars, recently told me she is concerned that media speculation surrounding Brexit’s terms and impact isn’t helpful, and that all any manufacturer importing cars intro the UK could do was to wait and see. Of course, that doesn’t mean Daimler’s planners and analysts aren’t modelling various scenarios so the business can adapt its strategy accordingly.
Dealers should be doing similarly – assess the risks, and prepare to adapt as necessary.
AM was saddened to hear of the death on April 10 of Sir Arnold Clark, who often featured on the pages and covers of the magazine. Read our news insight on how Sir Arnold ‘changed the way we buy and sell cars’.