More than half of franchised dealers say their manufacturer partners have told them to expect supply restrictions from September 1 as a result of new ‘real-world’ emissions and fuel economy test regimes.
AM’s survey into the effects of the EU’s Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) and Real Driving Emissions (RDE) tests found that 55.6% of respondents have been advised by their manufacturer partners to expect a restricted supply of vehicles. Many carmakers are struggling to re-test, and, in some cases, re-develop, their engine line-ups to abide by the new legislation coming into force on September 1.
While the potential for a slump in sales was highlighted by respondents to the survey – carried out between June 19 and July 16 – dealers also said they are coming under pressure to sell vehicles tested under the previous NEDC test regime.
A total of 43.7% of respondents said they had been placed under pressure to self-register vehicles ahead of September 1 as a direct result of the switch to WLTP and RDE test regimes, with 57.1% stating that manufacturers had introduced incentives in an effort to sell vehicles before then.
In last month’s AM, car dealers and industry experts voiced their concerns about the legislation switch, with fears of a spike in manufacturer ‘push’ and market ‘pull’ – similar to that experienced ahead of the changes to VED in April 2017 – as carmakers try to clear their books of NEDC-rated vehicles and fleet operators attempt to beat the tax hikes anticipated as a result of a rise in published emissions levels.
Retailers also said a lack of awareness of corresponding rises in vehicles’ published CO2 and mpg figures could trigger further distrust among consumers.
Stuart Foulds, the chairman and chief executive of TrustFord, said any rise in VED rates would immediately lead to consumers feeling “they have been conned”.
Mike Hawes, the chairman of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said it was essential for manufacturers and retailers to make customers aware of the changes, meanwhile, adding that they “have a responsibility to help the public understand”.
Just 20.3% of respondents to AM’s survey said they felt their manufacturer partners had effectively communicated WLTP/RDE changes to customers.
Some respondents felt WLTP and RDE were already affecting sales.
Although 61% felt they had seen no impact as yet, 9% of respondents said their retail registrations had risen as a result of the impending changes and 29% felt they had declined.
In the fleet sector, 59% felt sales were unaffected, while 9.6% felt they were up and 31% felt they were down.