Fleet News

Dealers nervous about the future

DEALERS have started the New Year nervous about the future and with margins under the severest pressure for several years. However, franchised dealers are more confident about their future business prospects than non-franchised dealers, according to a New Year motor trade business survey by the Retail Motor Industry Federation.

Of all the franchised dealers surveyed, 42% said they had a higher level of confidence in the future of their business than this time last year, compared with 64% of franchised dealers. However, there has been no significant change in business confidence among dealers since just after the May general election.

Uncertainty, said RMI chief executive Christopher Macgowan, was fuelled by the Government's spring white paper on an integrated transport policy and what the spring Budget might have in store for the trade, along with concerns over the Low Pay Commission reporting on the minimum wage controversy in May and continuing debate on UK entry into economic and monetary union.

'Our research shows there is considerable nervousness in the £65 billion per annum motor retail sector and that margins are under the severest pressure for many years,' he said. 'Like many industry sectors, the motor trade is at its most vulnerable when faced with uncertainty. It is essential that the Treasury keeps the economy on an even keel but that it does not blight our industry with excessive and unreasonable tax measures.'

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