Fleet News

Dealers rig sales to meet bonus targets

NEW evidence proving that some franchised dealerships are pre-registering cars to meet sales targets has been uncovered. Vehicle pre-registration and so-called 'false sales' have been among the most contentious issues facing the UK motor industry in recent years, and a practice strongly denied by UK car makers. Barely a month passes without at least one manufacturer dealer network being falsely accused of massaging new car figures to hit sales bonuses.

Fleet NewsNet has learnt, however, that some vehicles are being registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in the final days of a month, only to be deregistered just a couple of days later, refunding the road fund licence. This is a legitimate procedure, established to protect dealers from cancelled orders by allowing them to deregister a car so that no previous owner appears on its records to weaken its value.

But Ron Penny-Evans, the DVLA's deputy head of operations, said the system was being abused by dealers. 'We do not want them to register cars for spurious reasons just to make their books look good,' he said. 'They are only causing us aggravation and hassle, and it's a particularly keen issue in August and September. It's an annoying problem and something we could do without, especially at peak times.'

The issue is particularly acute for the DVLA because the first registration is the most complex, requiring considerable data entry to identify the vehicle. Deregistering a car only to re-register it again a few days later creates unnecessary duplication. Roger King, director of public affairs at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, claimed the practice had been going on for some time, but that it was only a peripheral element among the dealer fraternity who abused their right to deregister vehicles.

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