Spring has sprung and we’re open again

Motorbike Showroom

I think everyone has a spring in their step this week as the shackles come off and showrooms open their doors to the public again. It’ll be a relief for many businesses and let’s hope it’s for good this time. 

Whatever happens, the industry we’re coming back to has seen some accelerated change as a result of the pandemic.

Online vehicle sales have taken off and this will undoubtedly be seen by some as the new model for selling as we shift to an electric future. Volvo have already announced that they expect to be undertaking 100% of sales online by 2030. 

Sales of plug-in vehicles are accelerating too, and as I mentioned last week, all-electric and plug-in hybrid models now account for nearly 14% of the market. This share is only going to get bigger as we get closer to the government’s 2030 deadline for banning the sales of new petrol and diesel cars.

The shift to EVs will potentially change the way we sell. More manufacturers are considering selling directly to customers. Just look at what Polestar and of course Tesla are doing, with others likely to follow.

All this will impact aftersales too, as new technologies drive the requirement for new skills to maintain these vehicles and keep them roadworthy. 

The long-term relationship between manufacturers and dealers is also in a state of flux. There was an important case in Austria recently which shows that some of the old ways of doing business may be challenged going forward. The Austrian Supreme Cartel Court banned Peugeot from tying dealers’ payments to customer satisfaction surveys and subsidising vehicle prices at its manufacturer-owned sales outlets.  This judgement was based on a mixture of Austrian and EU regulations so may not be directly applicable in the UK, but is indicative of a changing landscape.

The future shape of vehicle retailing is a big story, and we’ll be covering it a lot more in the future as the new picture emerges.

MotorPro is the place to find out the latest industry insight, and the new edition is heading to IMI members this week. It’s a fantastic issue tackling another big subject: the world of connected technology. Well worth reading.

The world can feel like it’s in a constant state of flux, but we’re here to help. If you’ve got any questions or concerns, our team is available on +44 (0)1992 519025, or send emails to hello@theimi.org.uk.

Stay safe,

Steve