Business is good

Learning from the lockdown

By Martin Hill, Group, Director Of Strategic Partnerships

With attention now moving towards 2022, TrustFord’s CEO Stuart Foulds makes some astute observations about an environment where agility and lessons learned since lockdown one will have crucial roles to play.

It is clear that new car supply issues, used car stock shortages, and the ensuing surge in their values will not be the only leading factors in play.

In the broader economy, the Bank of England recently reported that CPI inflation is now expected to peak at around 5% in April 2022, materially higher than expected in its August Report. The knock-on impact saw the Bank noting, “it will be necessary over coming months to increase Bank Rate in order to return CPI inflation sustainably to the 2% target.”

The spectre of inflation has already seen consumer confidence dip. Any increase in interest rates will do little to help the situation, especially since such rises are unheard of for a growing number of today’s car buyers.

2022 will, as Stuart notes, be about staying lean and providing products on demand as much as possible. It will also be about reassuring car and van buyers. Here, I see a more significant role for added value services to help buyers manage their budgets and mitigate risks. For dealers, it will be about enhancing retention.

GAP can play a vital role in protecting used car buyers in the event of any downward adjustment in values. At the same time, I see SMART becoming an essential part of customer retention, which will become more important to dealers as a shift to agency sales increases its momentum.

As Stuart alludes to, the agility to adapt the operating model and adjust the levers we can control will continue to be vital.

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