Fleet News

Grey imports affect one in four dealers

USED Japanese imports have adversely affected one-in-four franchised dealers, according to new research from the Retail Motor Industry Federation. These 'grey' imports are affecting not only Japanese franchises such as Honda and Toyota, but also some European marques like Vauxhall and Volkswagen.

The RMI survey found that only 4% of the 114 businesses surveyed had enjoyed increased aftersales business from imports, while half reported no effect on their business. Another finding of the survey was that the growth in the used-car supermarket concept is changing the way franchised dealers operate.

One-in-five now expects to develop a supermarket-type operation, while more than two thirds (a rise of over 6% since September) are already opening their sales department during weekday evenings to compete with the opening hours of supermarket rivals. On the maintenance side, three quarters of service departments surveyed are now open later in the evening, compared to 60% in September, but this has coincided with a fall in Saturday afternoon opening from 68% to 53%.

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