21.07.09: Profiting from the fields of misery

Time 12 years ago

carsTHERE aren’t many companies benefiting from the downturn in the motor industry – but I found a strange one out today.

Those thousands of unsold cars sat in fields and at ports around the UK are a grim sight for most of us, but to some it’s a potential lucrative source of income.

How’s that? Well, where there are thousands of cars sat doing nothing for weeks, months and in some terrible cases, years, there are a huge amount of flat batteries to sort.

A meeting with CTEK – the guys behind smart battery chargers – today told me that this is a growing problem as the economic woes stifle sales.

They’ve seen a real spike in car manufacturers buying their commercial-sized products to keep batteries of their car stocks in fields in tip-top condition.

‘One large car manufacturer, which will remain nameless, says up to one-in-three warranty claims on new cars are battery related in the first three months of a car’s life,’ sales and marketing manager Peter White told me today.

‘The problem is these cars are stored and their batteries are diminishing all the time. Then, when the customer gets the car, the first thing they do is play with all the toys, creating a huge draw on the battery.

‘It ends up flat and you’re stuck with one very unhappy customer.’

Not a great experience for new car buyers, but one I’m sure many of you will recognise – and it’s likely to get worse, warned White.

‘Car makers are fitting smaller and smaller batteries in an attempt to save space which causes a big problem as the electronic kit fitted is getting more and more complicated at the same time, and is often drawing a small amount of power even when the car’s off.’

Let’s just hope those fields of empty cars are rapidly depleted then…


Those unsold cars are a scary site


James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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