The event in Canary Wharf yesterday was the SMMT’s fourth summit of its kind, and was organised to debate and discuss some of the key issues affecting the sector today and in the future.
The summit attracted the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable MP, automotive big-hitters including BMW, Ford, Bentley, Renault and Jaguar Land Rover, and key industry people including Bosch, Unipart and multiple Car Dealer Ewards winners GForces.
Ian Robertson, BMW Board Member, global sales and marketing, and Peter Tyroller, member of the board of Robert Bosch GmbH, delivered the industry keynote speeches, after which the summit divided into three key streams.
The changing face of vehicle retail stream, supported by GForces Web Management, called on leading opinion formers from two of the world’s most influential digital companies, Google and LinkedIn, to explain the way the online world is impacting every part of life – including buying a new car.
Offering the dealer’s perspective was Joe Doyle, CEO of HR Owen, while senior representatives including Charles Peugeot, sales director, Citroen set out how they plan to embrace the digital age, focusing on the challenge of virtual retail and low-carbon products.
Tim Smith, commercial director, GForces Web Management, said: ‘How consumers browse and buy cars has evolved. The rise of the internet and social media has driven over 90 per cent of car buyers online to research their next purchase.’
Two other streams at the summit included Innovation in ultra-low carbon technology stream, supported by EDF Energy, and procurement directors from some of the UK’s largest car manufacturers delivered insight on future purchasing strategies.