James Baggott: These are the stories that caught my eye this week

Time 11 months ago

Well, what a welcome back that was – no sooner had the new year kicked off, than Boris told us all to go back to bed.

We had a busy week covering the latest lockdown and chatting to experts about exactly what car dealers can and cannot do during the new restrictions.

I read today that we could be in this until the end of March, so we better get used to what we’re allowed to do. Here are some of the stories that caught my eye this week.

What you might have missed – in your ears

If you prefer to listen to what we think were the biggest stories of the week you can listen to the new Car Dealer Podcast. We’ve started recording a few of these, this is our fourth, and you can listen on your favourite Podcast platform by searching for the ‘Car Dealer Podcast’. This week Rebecca and I chat Tesla billions, the Apple iCar tie up with Hyundai and the naming and shaming of dealers. Listen to it on Spotify here or click the link below.

What are car dealers allowed to do?

With car dealers across the country in some form of a national lockdown, businesses are trying to work out how they can still operate while remaining on the right side of the law. In a special Car Dealer Live show broadcast on January 5, the Car Dealer team received more than 50 questions asking for clarification on click-and-collect rules. Here we explain all.

Car dealers remain positive despite lockdown

Despite the news that showrooms would have to close again, car dealers remained positive that there would still be business to be had. Here’s what leading dealer figures told us when the news was announced.

Private car sales ‘not allowed’

A police force has pulled over a used car buyer and reported them for breaking the rules on essential travel during the third national lockdown. The Central Motorway Police Group reported a VW Golf buyer who travelled 100 miles to pick up the car. Read how the experts reacted to this here.

Used Car Award shortlist revealed

It seems a long time ago now, but on Monday we revealed who is in the running for our Used Car Awards. The nominations list revealed in December has been whittled down to a shortlist thanks to intense mystery shopping. Find out who made the cut here.

Car sales could half in lockdown

Auto Trader director Catherine Faiers said the advertising giant believes dealers could see business halved during the third lockdown – but there are reasons to be cheerful. In an exclusive Car Dealer Live interview, Faiers said Auto Trader has been busy modelling scenarios and thinks dealers can expect trade to be at around 50 per cent of normal levels. Find out what the reasons are to be cheerful, though, by clicking here.

2020 new car sales figures

The UK’s new car market suffered a drop of nearly a third in 2020, with annual registrations plummeting to 1,631,064 units, according to figures released by the SMMT. Demand was the lowest level of registrations since 1992. Find out what will fuel the recovery here.

Tesla tops December sales chart

Tesla’s Model 3 led the new car sales charts in December 2020, said the SMMT. The smallest model in the range notched up 5,798 registrations, and pushed perennial favourites the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall’s Corsa down into third and sixth places respectively. Find out what else made the list here.

Lookers appoints interim CFO

Troubled dealer group Lookers appointed Anna Bielby as its new interim chief financial officer – but there was still no news on the group’s interim results. Find out what she has on her to do list here.

VW eyes German agency model

Volkswagen UK managing director Andrew Savvas admits he is carefully ‘watching’ how the agency model pans out for sales of the ID.3 in Germany. Savvas says he thinks the concept has ‘a lot of benefits’ but that the brand is still learning how it can work. Find out what else is on his agenda here.

Ok, that’s it from me this week.

Stay tuned to the website this week for lots more. I’ll be finding out the latest on used car prices from Cap HPI and hearing from What Car? about what they’ve seen in terms of buyer demand.

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Have a good week,


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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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