Winter surge in 4×4 values may be a thing of the past, according to Glass’s

THE traditional winter surge in values for 4x4s has failed to materialise again this year and may no longer be a feature of the market, reports Glass’s.

The last few relatively mild winters has meant that there has been no spike in retail demand, a factor likely to be reinforced by the current exceptionally moderate December weather.

Rupert Pontin, Glass’s head of valuations, said: ‘Going back five or six years, we had a couple of white winters and a corresponding retail upsurge in demand for 4x4s, especially for what you might call serious off roaders.

‘This established a pattern in the mind of dealers and, for a couple of winters afterwards, we saw an increase in demand from the trade but, thanks to warmer weather, no retail surge. This left a lot of dealers going into spring carrying an excess of 4×4 stock, which they had to trade out of at a loss.

‘Dealers have a long memory for this kind of error, so are now extremely cautious about the numbers of 4x4s that they buy over winter, especially if the season remains relatively mild.’

Additionally, the market was now so well-provisioned by 4x4s that they were no longer seen as a seasonal purchase by the vast majority of buyers, Pontin added.

‘The popularity of the 4×4 is so well established that almost every conceivable kind is now available and there is no longer really a lingering perception of them as vehicles that are only for tough weather. Most buyers see them as year-round family transport, creating consistent demand.’

Pontin added that for the heaviest duty 4x4s, especially V8 petrol and diesels, the problem was compounded by extremely high levels of discounting for new vehicles, driven by the high levels of road tax for the heaviest polluters and thus diluting demand from used buyers.

‘Really, high taxation and substantial discounting means that buying used at anything at up to even five years makes a limited amount of sense. Motorists willing to pay the high running costs for this kind of vehicle may as well buy new and enjoy advantages such as a manufacturer warranty.

‘The only likely disruption to this pattern is a sudden, heavy and persistent fall of snow, Pontin added.

‘If this took place, dealers could very well find themselves with too little 4×4 stock, leading to a buying frenzy and a subsequent spike in values but there is no sign of that happening so far this winter.’

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Founder of collapsed dealership banned from business for eight years

THE founder of a Scots car dealership that collapsed owing £7 million has been banned from running a company for eight years.

Charles Adair, who set up Glasgow-based Verve 17 years ago, was found to have presided over an operation that lied to customers and lenders to generate cash.

The company went into administration in 2013 and Adair later declared himself bankrupt. Adair, 54, has been disqualified from being a company director until December 2023.

Verve operated three dealerships across central Scotland, as well as a body shop and a van centre. More than 100 people were made redundant when it went into administration.

The government’s Insolvency Service launched an investigation and uncovered a trail of inaccurate data and false documents. The probe found that the firm claimed ‘manufacturer bonuses’ by selling cars that were meant to be used as demonstrator or hire vehicles.

Verve also provided false vehicle details to lenders to obtain advance funding on cars which had not yet been manufactured, and created false hire and lease agreements to conceal the fact that vehicles had been sold in order to mislead auditors.

Between January 2012 and November 2013, 183 vehicles were sold which the company had not paid for.

Cheryl Lambert, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: ‘Directors have a duty to ensure that the employees and procedures they oversee comply with the law. In this case, Mr Adair failed to make sure that the necessary controls and procedures were in place to prevent his employees from implementing dishonest business practices.

‘He therefore oversaw an operation that put its, and, by extension, his, interests before that of creditors, suppliers and other parties with which it transacted, including obtaining money by providing false information. Such activity goes to the very core and basis of the economic system.

‘Taking action against Mr Adair is a warning to all directors to seriously consider their duties and obligations.’

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Car dealer sued after traded-in pickup ends up in hands of jihadists

A PLUMBER is suing a car dealership after his traded-in pickup was pictured being used by jihadists with his business decal still in place.

Texan Mark Oberholtzer sold his 2005 Ford F-250 truck to Houston dealership AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway. The vehicle was then sold on and a tweet with a picture of black-clad fighters firing a heavy weapon from the load area – above – went viral in 2014.

Oberholtzer’s plumbing business, Mark-1 Plumbing Inc., and his phone number, were clearly visible on the side of the Ford. He is now suing the car dealership for failing to take the company’s decal and phone number off the side of the truck.

The plumber had to close his business for a week and leave town after receiving about 1,000 phone calls from people ‘around the nation’ making threats ‘in grossly specific terms’ against Oberholtzer, his family and his employees, according to the suit filed at a local Houston court.

Oberholtzer was visited by officials from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, who ultimately told him to be careful. And his secretary quit out of fear for her safety. Oberholtzer is screening phone calls and threats to this day, according to the lawsuit.

Autonation Ford Gulf Freeway spokesman Marc Cannon said the dealership wasn’t responsible for the truck eventually ending up in Turkey and then in the hands of alleged terrorists because they simply sold the vehicle to a used car store in Houston.

‘We didn’t export it over there,’ Cannon told NBC News. ‘It came to our dealership, and it was passed on to the auction.’

Oberholtzer is seeking $1 million in lost profit after his ‘company’s reputation and standing in the business and local community was irretrievably damaged’, the suit said.

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Sales executives go toe to toe to raise money for charity

Dec 16, 15 Sales executives go toe to toe to raise money for charity

TWO salesmen at a Suffolk VW dealership became kings of the ring to deliver a knockout blow for charity – and were unexpectedly pitted against each other!

Sales manager Craig Daniels and sales executive Adam Pomphrett, who work at Barnards Volkswagen in Stowmarket, independently completed intensive eight-week training programmes in the campaign organised by Ultra White Collar Boxing, which gave people the chance to experience life as a boxer in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Craig Daniels, left, and Adam Pomphrett jokingly square up to each other

By coincidence, the 25-year-olds were matched for a bout by the organisers, and despite being good friends they both gave it their all in front of a capacity crowd of 450 people in Colchester. The three-round contest ended in a draw, with the pair raising £550.

Daniels said: ‘In 2009 I lost my granddad to cancer and have always wanted to do something to help raise money for Cancer Research.

‘When we saw this charity boxing event we signed up as we thought it would be a bit of fun while doing something for a good cause. We never thought for a second we would end up fighting each other!

‘The training has been the hardest physical exercise I have ever had to do, and the final event was even more mentally and physically challenging. All in all, it was a great experience but I don’t think I will be jumping back into the ring any time soon!’

Pomphrett added: ‘I don’t think anyone has to look far to find someone suffering with cancer, whether it be themselves or a loved one, so I jumped at the chance to do something to help the cause. It was an amazing experience, which not only raised a huge amount of money but was also a lot of fun.’

Dealership brand manager Trevor Pajak said: ‘We are extremely proud of the commitment that Craig and Adam have shown in their efforts to raise money for Cancer Research.’

Pictured at top: Craig Daniels, left, and Adam Pomphrett in the ring at the Ultra White Collar Boxing event

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Bristol dealership launches first used-car supercentre

AN AWARD-WINNING car dealership in Bristol has just launched its first Used Supercentre in the city.

Wessex Garages’ dealership on Pennywell Road will now be a used car and fleet centre offering motorists the largest selection of used Nissan vehicles in the South West.

General Manager Terry Thurgood,  pictured, explained: ‘We are delighted to announce that our Pennywell Road dealership will now be a used car supercentre. We will be bridging the gap between large used car centres and auctions to main dealers.

‘We will be able to offer our customers the largest selection of used Nissans in the South West. At the site 50 per cent of the used vehicles will be Nissan models and the rest of the cars and vans will be a selection from other motor brands including ones not currently included in the Wessex Group.

‘People who visit the supercentre will have plenty of choice when searching for a quality used car. They will be shopping with a reputable brand with more than 29 years’ experience in the used car industry. We will continue to offer incredible service and offer customers competitive prices.’

Before any pre-owned car goes on sale it is first thoroughly assessed for faults, and any found are resolved completely. Wessex Garages will also look into the background of all vehicles for added assurance.

Terry continued: ‘We have established a reputation for honesty, reliability and outstanding value for money. These are the three pillars of the business and we are very proud to uphold them as an award-winning company that aims to create total transparency and trust for our customers. These elements make Wessex Garages ‘The Intelligent Choice’. We are committed to giving exceptional customer service and our customers are at the very core of all we do.’

Wessex Garages is a privately owned company that has outlets in Bristol, Cardiff, Gloucester and Newport. It specialises in new and used car sales across South Wales and the South West.

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Arnold Clark opens UK’s largest Renault and Dacia dealership

ARNOLD CLARK has opened the biggest dealership in the entire Renault Group UK dealer network.

The flagship franchise on Hillington Industrial Park in Glasgow measures 15,823 sq ft and has a 23-car showroom. It adjoins Arnold Clark’s new, 90,000 sq ft Renfrewshire headquarters and further strengthens the long-standing relationship of Europe’s largest independently-owned automotive retail group with Renault Group UK.

Its previous East Lane Paisley and Pollokshaws Road dealerships have been consolidated into the new dealership, which also has a new and used car display of 400 vehicles and features the new Renault Store concept with interactive car configurator and iPad-equipped ‘Brand Bar’. In addition, there is an 11-bay workshop with the latest diagnostic equipment, EV charging points plus static and automated car wash facilities.

Arnold Clark has represented Renault for more than 40 years, and David Munton, Renault franchise manager at Arnold Clark, said: ‘Our history with Renault together with our desire to improve the facilities of our existing franchises in the area made it a logical decision to incorporate a brand-new dealership into our Hillington development.

‘Our experiences of working with Renault Group have been excellent and we’ve enjoyed a great deal of success with the brand. Its cars are very popular with our customers, the Clio and Megane previously being the best-selling new vehicles in Scotland, and this year alone we expect to sell in the region of 18,000 vehicles across our Renault franchises.’

Darren Payne, Renault Group UK sales director, said: ‘We’re delighted that such an important investor as Arnold Clark has underlined its confidence in Renault and Dacia by not only establishing a new franchise, but also making it the largest of its kind in the UK and acknowledging its importance by incorporating it into its flagship facility.

‘The Hillington franchise is the latest addition to our fast-growing dealer network, and its development by one of the country’s top privately-owned automotive retail groups is a clear indication of how appealing our franchise is. We very much look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Arnold Clark, and with investors like them on board, we are in the best possible position to achieve our plans for sustainable growth set out in our GO5+ strategy.’

Pictured at top from left: Arnold Clark Hillington general manager Richard Kennedy, Renault Group UK northern regional director Mark Potter, Arnold Clark Group managing director Eddie Hawthorne, and Renault franchise manager David Munton

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