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A third of car dealers ‘unaware’ of WLTP emissions test regime switch

Philip Nothard, Cox Automotive’s head of external relations

A third of car dealers remain unaware of the date that the new WLTP fuel emissions test comes into force, according to a survey conducted by Manheim.

The physical auction element of the Cox Automotive business found that 35% of car dealers are unaware of the September 1 deadline which manufacturers are battling to meet via homologation of vehicle to the new standards and the sale of NEDC-tested stock through their franchised retail networks.

Last month AM’s own survey on the impact of WLTP found that 55.6% of respondents had been advised by their manufacturer partners to expect a restricted supply of vehicles as a result of the switch to the EU’s Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) and Real Driving Emissions (RDE) tests.

The survey, conducted between June 19 and July 16, also revealed that 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, with 57.1% stating that manufacturers had introduced incentives in an effort to sell vehicles before then.

Manheim’s survey results indicated that two-thirds (61%) of dealers are not up-to-speed with the timetable for the roll out and are unclear on what the new testing means for new cars after the deadline.

But it appears that retailers are becoming increasingly aware of what the effects of the switch will mean for them.

Manheim’s survey showed that 86% believe there will be tactical registrations taking place to register WLTP impacted vehicles ahead of the 1 September deadline.

Philip Nothard, Cox Automotive’s head of external relations, said: "The response to these questions is startling. With less than six weeks to go until the implementation of WLTP, that a third of dealers say they unaware of WLTP should be of grave concern to the government and manufacturers.

 "In addition, almost two-thirds report being unaware of any timetable, a similar number are unclear about what it actually means to new car sales and just over half saying they're not getting clarity from the brands they represent.

"There's been much talk in the sector about confusion and low awareness levels and these responses suggest this is more than idle speculation."

Nothard said that the survey results had made it clear that tactical registrations were likely to deliver a significant spike in August registration figures.

This potentially record-breaking number of registrations is likely to impact on residual values for certain variants further down the line, although this may be countered by a pause in new car production while manufacturers implement technical improvements.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) said that it was "concerning" to see that a third of dealers remain unaware of the upcoming WLTP switch-over.

Highlighting the efforts that the NFDA had gone to ij an effort to keep its members informed about the changes, she added: "WLTP will come into full effect for all new car registrations from September 2018 and replace the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). In preparation for this the NFDA has been working closely with Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) to help inform the automotive industry of the changes.

“The NFDA has contacted individual manufacturers to urge them to provide their respective dealer networks with clear guidance on WLTP and the effects its introduction may have.

“We also held a workshop last month to help dealers address the potential implications of the introduction of WLTP and encourage the dialogue between dealers and manufacturers.

“It is vital that manufacturer’ expectations are realistic and feasible and that dealers know what products they are going to be supplied with and their status. We will continue to address WLTP at our regional meetings and weekly NFDA newsletter, and work closely with dealers and manufacturers to address the issue.”


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