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Car Dealer Podcast: Manufacturers are looking to sell more directly to customers – but we shouldn’t underestimate how hard this will be for them

  • Auto Trader chief operations officer Catherine Faiers joins the Car Dealer Podcast
  • This week we talk about soaring dealer profits, Cazoo’s 2022 plans, and Volvo’s used car platform
  • Listen now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more or by clicking play below

Time 8:55 am, February 13, 2022

Car manufacturers’ potential claims on the used car market has been an issue weighing heavy this week after Volvo announced it would be launching its own used car platform.

It’s a move that has the potential to further disrupt the industry. However, speaking on the Car Dealer Podcast, Auto Trade chief operations officer Catherine Faiers commented that dealers should consider how fast manufacturers could implement these changes and what their objectives really are.

She said: ‘I think it’s a sign of the way some manufacturers are moving, obviously a lot has been said about the move to agency. There’s about 10 different versions of agency from what we can see and understand from different manufacturers.

‘The reality is that if manufacturers are looking to sell cars more directly to consumers and look to build – and we shouldn’t underestimate quite how hard this will be – the capability to price the cars, support consumers to buy them and all sorts of roles that typically manufacturers in the UK don’t have the ability to do.

‘If you’re building those capabilities then why wouldn’t you start putting your used cars in if you’ve invested in putting that in place.’

While she warned this is something we’ll likely see from more car brands, she added that this is currently not their strong suit and will take big operational changes.

You can listen in full to the episode with Faiers by clicking play below, or by searching for Car Dealer Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and more.


‘It’s an interesting first move from Volvo and I’m sure they won’t be the last manufacturer to look at this route,’ Faiers said. ‘If I was a retailer I would take some reassurance from the fact that when you look at consumer visits to manufacturer websites, they’re tiny.

‘Consumers don’t think of going direct to manufacturers to buy cars today. We get 30 times more visits to Auto Trader than all of the manufacturers operating in the UK combined.’

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She added: ‘They typically build good brochure websites where you can experience the car but it means they perform typically really badly because they’re very content rich. They’re great discovery, explanation and experiences about the brands but they tend not to be great retail experience.

‘And clearly for these manufacturers, they don’t have any of the capabilities to try and sell these cars so I think it’s very early days and if I were a retailer I would be looking to work as closely with manufacturers as I could to understand what their real objectives are and how fast those changes might look to play out.’

Each week on the Car Dealer Podcast we talk about the biggest news stories and ask an industry guest to choose which is best. This week, Faiers helped us choose from the following.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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