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VRA to discuss impact of COVID-19 ‘second wave’ and inoculations at AGM

Sam Watkins, chair of the Vehicle Remarketing Association

The Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) is set to debate the potential impact of a “second wave” of the COVID-19 coronavirus and efforts to find an inoculation at its annual general meeting (AGM).

A wide-ranging agenda will see experts from across the automotive sector attempt to address the potential risks and opportunities ahead for used care remarketing providers as lockdown restrictions are eased and retailers attempt to step-up their sales operations once more.

Three different speakers will tackle four different scenarios in the online AGM taking place on July 1, including an easing of lockdown with coronavirus under control, a national second wave, localised outbreaks, and a successful inoculation programme.

The experts charged with considering the various scenarios are: Lee Swinerd, managing director - advisory at KPMG, who will look at the general economic implications; Mike Jones, chair of ASE Global, who will assess the automotive sector; and Dr Justin Varney, director at Birmingham City Council, who will cover the public health angle.

VRA chair, Sam Watkins, said: “Coronavirus is very likely to continue to affect remarketing in many different kinds of ways and this webinar session, which follows our main AGM business, is designed to help industry professionals understand some of the issues that they could well find themselves facing over the next year and further into the future.

“Throughout the coronavirus crisis so far, we have been holding regular online sessions for our members to help them cope with issues on a day-to-day basis.

“Now that there is a perhaps a moment of breathing space, this seems like a good time to examine how what now seems to be called ‘the new normal’ will develop over time.”

Watkins, who spoke to AM for a ’5 minutes with…’ feature earlier this year, explained that the VRA had started adding speaker sessions to its AGM last year and that the move had been overwhelmingly welcomed by the organisation’s members.

She said: “AGM’s can often be quite dry and unexciting affairs that are dominated by procedural matters. Adding a high-level briefing element to the proceedings brings value and interest.

“We are very, very pleased to have Lee, Mike and Justin taking part. They are all leading commentators in their fields and we are sure that they will help our members develop an improved understanding of the challenges they may soon find themselves facing.”

Sweeping changes have been enforced across the remarketing sector during the past four months as providers adapt their offering in response to social distancing and car retailers’ desire to transact more predominantly online.

Last week AM highlighted the decisions of Cox Automotive and Aston Barclay to commit to wholly-online auctions for the time being, while digital stocking source Motorway reported record results following the lifting of lockdown on car showrooms on June 1. 

iVendi chief executive, James Tew, however, urged car retailers to have a ‘second wave plan’ to deal with the prospect of another COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown later this year.

Tew said that the possibility of further peaks occurring was “very real”, and that businesses need to think ahead in terms of how they might operate under a renewed lockdown.

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