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Latest News from the NFDA
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has said that online car sales and deliveries “remain acceptable” during the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown.
Advice issued to members of the industry body, which it described as “general guidance only” and “not specific legal advice”, highlighted the official wording of the Government’s lockdown legislation in making the recommendation.
The NFDA advised that the full delivery of vehicles sales could be continued, if done away from a traditional showroom environment and “in a manner that is safe and compliant with all coronavirus related health and safety requirements”.
AM reported last week that online car retailer, Cazoo, has continued not only to sell, but deliver vehicles to people’s home’s during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Cazoo, the subject of an AM dealer profile feature in last month’s magazine, is offering a £250 sales discount to NHS keyworkers and said that it was prioritising its deliveries \"based on need\".
While many car retailers have closed their showrooms and ceased sales, some – both franchised and independent – have continued to do the same.
Car manufacturers including Dacia and Mitsubishi, meanwhile, are among those showcasing the ability to buy a car wholly online now, with sales expected to be completed when the lockdown is lifted.
In delivering its official guidance, the NFDA described Government’s stance concerning purchasing vehicles online as “ambiguous”, but added that there appeared to be no absolute prohibition to online vehicle sales, provided they occur outside a car showroom.
The NFDA highlighted Regulation 4(4) and Part 2 of Schedule 2 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (the Regulations), which specifically require the cessation of “car showroom” business activity during the “emergency period” (i.e. lockdown).
However, Regulation 5(1)(a) allows businesses to continue to sell online and states that “there is no reason why this should not extend to motor retail”.
In other words, the sensible interpretation of the Regulations is that it focuses on the closure of physical premises (e.g. the actual showrooms) only, the NFDA said.
The NFDA’s guidance added: “Further, guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 8 April 2020 ‘To everyone working in the UK’s retail sector’ emphasises that: ‘The Government has always been clear that online retail can continue to operate and is encouraged, and that postal and delivery services will continue to operate’.”
A recent survey conducted by AM found that less than half of UK car retailers are equipped to complete contactless online car sales despite the renewed focus on digital marketing brought by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak – removing their option to continue selling during lockdown.
AM\'s results revealed that just 48.7% of the 427 respondents had the ability to trade online.
The NFDA suggested that the decision to sell cars online was one that now lay with retail operators, although it emphasised that businesses have a duty to assess \"at all times\" the risks posed to their employees and to the public as a result of them operating.
“Some dealers will not consider a small number of online sales worth the cost and risk of maintaining remotes sales and delivery operations at this time,” it added.
The Future After Covid 19 - All Change?
I am writing this while still on lockdown. The garages are closed and my staff and I are wondering what the outcome will be without knowing if the end of the pandemic is in sight. One thing is for sure for many of us is uncertainty. The other is change as we will need to change to adapt to the new global landscape. I beleive vehicle sales will continue to rise but more sales will be online and the dealers that are able to adapt to this change will come out stronger. We are now selling most of our cars online and we are finding the customers that do are enjoying a better purchasing experience. Much less time visiting the dealership. No requirement to visit the dealership to collect as we deliver them on our transporter in a controlled enviroment. Finance is all arranged online and we have E sign so no requirement to physically sign paperwork. Customers get the benefit of our 7 day money back guarantee as well as our 30 Day Exchange Plan & FREE MOT for life that we have always had since we opened our doors back in 1976.
July data shows rising demand for electric cars in Europe
Electric vehicle registrations in Europe totalled 96,000 units in July, as the fuel type's share of the monthly market reached 7.4%.
The growth - 29% up year-on-year - was driven by Tesla - the top-selling brand - and Renault, which saw a 103% volume increase after its Zoe model became the top-selling BEV during the month. Other notable results included Volkswagen, where volume was up by 64%, Hyundai, where volume was up by 334%, and Audi, which sold 1,735 units of the E-Tron.
â€œEven if they still makeup a comparatively marginal part of the overall market, electric vehicles are definitely becoming the industry's bright spot during these challenging times,â€ said Felipe Munoz, JATO's global analyst.
The increase in EV's market share came as a pure electric cars (BEVs) volume rose 98% to 23,200 units.
Hybrid vehicles also performed well in July, as demand increased by 27% to 56,800 units.
As usual, the rankings were dominated by Toyota and Lexus, but there were notable results from Mercedes, which came third, and Land Rover, whose new Evoque model became the fifth best-selling hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) during the month.
Despite continuing economic uncertainty and diminishing consumer confidence, it helped the European car market register growth in July, as overall registrations were up by 1.2% to 1,325,600 units.
Although the growth was marginal, it marks a significant improvement on the drop seen in June, when registrations fell by 7.9%. However, the result is not significant enough to offset the market's overall performance so far in 2019, with year-to-date figures showing 9,723,400 vehicles have been registered - a 2.5% drop on the same period last year.
Munoz said: â€œThere is uncertainty in Europe. After many years of growth, the market shows signs of deceleration that is likely to continue if the German economy fails to grow again.â€
The growth seen in July was driven by the midsize and small markets, as 14 of the 27 countries analysed in JATO's insights saw increases. Again, the situation is not as positive in the year-to-date figures, where only 10 markets have so far recorded growth.
Consumers bought 505,900 SUVs in July, as demand increased by 8.7%. This result puts fears of a deceleration in the segment to rest, said JATO, which was a concern after demand for the car type slowed to the lowest recorded rate in June.
However, the increase seen in July 2018 was still lower than the 35%, 18% and 12% increases seen in July 2018, July 2017 and July 2016, respectively.
VW Group led the SUV segment, as the German maker recorded 25.7% of the market share and its volume grew by 25% thanks to the strong result of the T-Cross, which sold 12,600 units and become Europe's 5th best-selling small SUV. Their volume was also boosted by big increases posted by the T-Roc (+20%), Karoq (+27%), Q3 (+34%) and Kodiaq (+59%).
VW Group also dominated the rankings by model, as its Volkswagen brand placed four models inside the top 10.
The rankings were led, once again, by the Volkswagen Golf, which was followed by the Volkswagen Polo, as both models posted double-digit growth.
The most surprising result of the month was the Dacia Sandero, which came third in the rankings - the best ever result for the Romanian model. Elsewhere, the Opel Corsa saw a volume increase of 28%, boosted by strong demand in Germany (+82%) and Spain (+153%).
Other solid performers in July included the Mercedes A-Class, Mini, Skoda Karoq, Audi Q3, Skoda Kodiaq, Suzuki Vitara, Jeep Renegade, Toyota RAV4, Mercedes B-Class and Hyundai Kona - where one in four registrations came from its electric model.
Congratulations on finishing the training, we have now awarded you EVA status.
Well done everyone. Its official we are now fully authorised and have "EV Approved" status for Service & Sales at our Reading Dealership. Well done to everyone for making this happen.
All Front Line Sales Staff Achieve Full SAF Approval
Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF) was introduced by the Finance & Leasing Association in 2007 to raise the professional standards of individual staff involved in selling motor finance in dealerships. Approved Status was introduced two years later to recognise the commitment of dealerships where all employees involved in the sale of finance have passed the SAF competence test and have agreed to be retested once a year to keep their technical knowledge up to date. The SAF network now has more than 2,500 showrooms across the UK, meaning that more customers than ever are benefitting from better information. Financing Your Car, the FLA's impartial guide to car finance, includes a search engine to help people find their nearest SAF Approved showroom using their postcode, preferred dealer or brand. Paul Harrison, head of motor finance at the FLA, said: ""The SAF scheme is designed and supported by the motor finance industry. It invests in the training of dealership staff to ensure high standards of expertise when selling motor finance. We have today reached an important milestone, as the top 10 UK dealerships have all now achieved Approved Status. ""With motor finance now supporting 75 per cent of private new car sales, SAF knowledge is essential for any showroom team.'
This Weekend 24th 25th 26th November 2017
This weekend we have the Heart Angels supporting our BIG FINANCE WEEKEND EVENT. We have all the representatives from the banks on site to help get deals accepted quickly and smoothly. Lots of offers with Food & Drink as well!
We Now Supply Quality Van's
Due to strong demand we have chosen to expand our offerings to include high quality new and used vans. If your looking for a great deal on a new or used van put as to the test. We can supply all makes and models many with no VAT.
Change of Trading Styles
Berkshire Fiesta Centres after 41 Years updates its name to BFC Motor Group to reflect its ever expanding offerings. DrivePay expanding across the UK with partner funding.
1st November 2016 Brand New Fords Available From Stock
If your looking for a new or nearly new Ford we have some fantastic deals. 2017 Model year Fiesta 1.2 Zetec 5dr with Factory Fitted SAT NAV from only £12999. Top Part Exchange deals.
2014 Fiesta's from £99 deposit and £99 per month
We have over 50 Fiesta's in stock to drive away today. Prices from just £2999.
New Goring Branch Now Open
We are delighted to announce our second site is now open at the Budget Car Centre at Crays Pond near Goring.