The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, provides an update on its activities in 2019.
The Move to Electrification
In the 11 months to November 2019, the UK saw a declining new vehicle market of 2.7% versus the prior year. However, within this, battery electric vehicles increased their market share by 135.6% taking them to 1.5% of the overall UK market. Whilst this remains a small segment of the market, it is likely to increase rapidly in 2020 as the new emission targets set by the EU for manufacturers come into force on the 1 January 2020. It is likely that the market may see some supply imbalances over the coming year, however NFDA is working with retailers to help them achieve Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) status.
EVA is a scheme endorsed by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and will set the standards for retail and aftersales of electric vehicles. The scheme was launched to help consumers understand the complexities of electric vehicles and provide them with the correct advice, giving them confidence in their purchase.
Recruiting for the Sector
With the shift to electrification comes the need to recruit high-quality candidates into the sector. NFDA created its platform Drive My Career for this very reason and, in 2019, has successfully ‘connected’ [25,000] candidates with potential employers.
Drive My Career’s campaigns have reached more than 3 million young people and the website has experienced a steady increase in traffic over the past twelve months. In total, more than 90,000 users have visited the site this year.
Consumer and Dealer Surveys
In addition to its Dealer Attitude Survey, which has been running for  years, NFDA has recently launched an Electric Vehicle Dealer Attitude Survey. The survey helps to understand retailers’ views on manufacturers’ approaches to the electric vehicle sector. Going forward, we hope the survey will improve manufacturer and dealer relationships, which in turn will benefit the consumer.
The seventh edition of the Consumer Attitude Survey was published in the Spring 2019 with a renewed focus on the electric vehicle sector. We learned that consumers felt franchised retailers are the most trusted for servicing pure electric cars and also the safest place to have their car serviced. This feedback informs our work with EVA and to ensure franchised retailers continue to offer a high-quality service to consumers.
In 2019, the consumer has had a lack of emotional confidence in investment decisions as a result of ongoing economic uncertainty. We hope the recent General Election result will provide clarity for business going forward and will allow motor retailers and manufactures to invest in the rapidly changing UK market.
Sue Robinson, Director NFDA, said, “2019 has seen a monumental increase in the demand of electric vehicles. By monitoring consumer sentiment, and working with both the Government and manufacturers, we continue to ensure that our members provide the best service possible to meet the new demand and understand the changing needs of the consumer. As a body, we feel prepared to manage the shifting opinion and environment of the industry and we will maintain our support of motor retailers as internal combustion engines are phased out and replaced with new electric vehicles.”
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.