Conference timetable:

Welcome: Jeremy Bennett, editor, AM and Penny Mallory, motoring expert and conference moderator
New cars

Terry Hogan, managing director,

Consumer new and used car buying advice and review website’s managing director Terry Hogan draws on a wealth of research undertaken by the company to explore the sales process from enquiry to showroom experience followed by post sales events and eventually, full circle, when the customer decides to replace their vehicle.  Hogan will also illustrate the many pitfalls which dealers still fall into, as highlighted by consumers who were surveyed as part of the research. He will also advise dealers not to rest on their laurels as those who fail to take on board basic processes will lose out despite a recovering economy.

New cars

Anton Hanley, managing director, The Auto Network

Drawing on insights and research gained from manufacturer clients, The Auto Network, whose consumer-facing website provides latest new car information and reviews, will document the growth of new car registrations year-to-date. Hanley will illustrate the role PCPs have played among private motorists alongside the vehicles, makes and models which figure highest on new car buyers’ shopping lists and will outline accompanying consumer online behaviour. Whilst indications signify the current new car growth will continue next year, Hanley will provide a note of caution as pre-registrations may skew the market. He will also urge dealers to balance their attentions between private buyers, set to slow compared to 2013 gains, and fleet, which is showing signs of a comeback next year. Hanley will also identify new car digital trends and how dealers can maximise their sales potential with a targeted marketing strategy.

Used cars

Tim Marriott, head of product for i-Control, Deltapoint

Richard Manning, owner, Hilton Garage Car Supermarket

Understanding local consumer demand and offering cars to perfectly match is vital in a market where good quality stock is difficult to locate. If retailers are to maximise the potential of a recovering economy and overcome stock challenges, they need to provide vehicles consumers want at the right price. This session will illustrate with an actual case study how other non-automotive retailers are successfully applying ‘big data’ with incredible results. Leveraging data from sources which collate information from millions of searches and interactions provides the insights every used car operation can apply to forge ahead. East Midlands Hilton Garage Car Supermarket owner Richard Manning reveals how ‘big data’ has helped him weed out slow selling stock, focus on desirable vehicles and incorporate cars they would never have considered but sells well.

Refreshments and networking
Financial Conduct Authority Update

David Gagie, senior advisor, Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) takes responsibility for regulating consumer credit activities on 1st April 2014 and with the publication of its regulations pending, lenders and other stakeholders, including dealers who rely on finance as a business driver, are anticipating their recommendations and the subsequent impact.  Gagie provides an overview of the regulations and particular areas automotive retailers need to address to ensure they comply as well as exploring how the FCA will differ from its predecessors. In a bid to provide greater clarity in the run-up to this new era of consumer finance regulation, Gagie will also be on hand to answer questions.


Gerald Grimes, managing director, Hitachi Capital

Steve Reynolds, group F&I manager, Stoneacre

Drawing on its 30-year plus experience as consumer finance lenders for High Street retailers, Hitachi Capital will illustrate how these principles can be overlaid to create a customer-centric lending environment. Simple solutions such as focusing on monthly repayment affordability rather than the cost of the asset can create incremental business and increase sales and familiar High Street finance promotions such as deferred payments can be applied to automotive retail to attract new custom. Grimes explores how finance can deliver an enhanced customer experience, encourage customer retention and increase accessibility whilst providing value-for-money and exemplary service for the car-buyer.


Chris Codd, head of sales, MAPFRE ABRAXAS

Dealer case study reserved for AM guest speaker

As consumers have become more mindful of protecting themselves, the industry has reflected this demand with the introduction of a number of products including tyre and alloy, cosmetic repair and MOT insurance which continue to evolve to match customer requirements. As well as meeting the needs of consumers, it has provided dealers with the opportunity to build a sustainable insurance business. This session examines the fundamental building blocks which need to be in place to enable dealers to achieve success, from developing the right culture to ensuring the correct processes are in place.

Refreshments and networking

Ian Pollard, senior digital strategy & solutions manager, Trader Media Group

Jim Haysom, business development director, Trader Media Group

Includes a panel debate with retailers

From content to engagement, most dealers would benefit from further improving their social media strategy. Trader Media Group highlights automotive retail social media examples and explains how these particular dealers, quite simply, hit the nail on the head. With input from a range of dealers who have embraced the social media revolution, TMG invites delegates to provide questions in advance of the conference and will tackle the burning social media questions in a highly interactive manner. Finally, this session will provide dealers with action points which they can take-away and readily implement on their return to their businesses to increase their social media presence, consumer engagement and online community which will ultimately drive more traffic to the showroom.


Chris Oakham, director, Trend Tracker

As the flow of customers from the franchised network to the independents continues unabated, Trend Tracker director and author of the Castrol Professional Car Service and Repair Trend Tracker report Chris Oakham explores ways in which franchised dealers can retain customers and even win migrants back. He identifies MOT testing as key as repair work is much more lucrative than routine servicing but with only around 60% of franchised dealers with MOT facilities compared to around 80% for independent garages, for many it will be an even greater challenge. Oakham also points to the higher retention of brands which offer longer warranties, in particular, Kia with seven years and Hyundai with its five-year warranty.


Neil Addley, managing director, Trusted Dealers

Detailing the need for an effective online aftersales presence, Addley will draw on consumer research undertaken by Trusted Dealers and the National Franchised Dealers Association to highlight the attention dealers need to pay to their internet showcase. Following the research, Trusted Dealers and the NFDA identified ’10 Points of Difference’ to provide dealers with the means to articulate the benefits of undertaking service, repair and maintenance work in the franchised network. Addley will also explore the wider role digital has to play in a successful aftersales operation including the promotion of service plans, service offers, customer reviews and online service bookings, a facility which Trusted Dealers will launch on its own website early next year.

Chairman’s closing remarks & conference close