90 per cent feel it is important that there is a local brand specific outlet in case of problems when travelling locally and abroad. Commenting on the research, SMMT Chief Executive Christopher Macgowan said, ‘These findings fly in the face of reports that block exemption works against the consumer interest. Car buyers here and in the rest of Europe recognise that competition is strong and are not afraid to bargain hard for the best deal. They also understand the technical complexity of a unique product that is best served by a well-trained, dedicated sales and aftersales network. This report shows that consumers are keen for it to continue.’ * * * * * Notes to editors. A report that focuses on attitudes to new car distribution shows that consumers want to keep the industry’s ‘block exemption’. The findings contradict the view that dealer networks have failed car buyers and that the distribution system should be scrapped in 2002.Published by Taylor Nelson Sofres, the report follows extensive research in the five major European car markets, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. In each country, consumers felt that selective and exclusive distribution best suited the technical complexity of motor vehicles.Strong competition between different makes of car was highlighted as a key benefit of the current system. The convenience of dealer networks was also felt to be important and over a third of buyers reported visiting at least two dealerships of the same make to research and negotiate the best possible deal.Other findings show that the so-called ‘sales and servicing link’ is highly valued. Franchised dealer services are seen as part of the overall package when buying a new car. Consumers also recognise the role of manufacturers in maintaining high standards of dealer selection, training and after sales care.Facts and figures: 35 per cent of Europeans visited at least two dealerships representing the make they bought. 71 per cent of UK customers negotiated on price. Over 800 new car buyers were polled in each country. Block exemption operates throughout the European Union. The rules permit selective and exclusive distribution of motor vehicles through franchised dealer networks. Similar systems operate in the US and Japan. 59 per cent of Europeans and 55 per cent of UK customers prefer to service within the franchised network after expiry of the warranty. 83 per cent polled agreed with the statement ‘Getting the maintenance or repairs carried out by a garage of the same make, it is for me an additional guarantee’. 80 per cent of Europeans think that competition between brands is strong. In the UK the figure is 73 per cent. 76 per cent considered that competition has increased during the last decade. Taylor Nelson Sofres Automotive is the fourth largest market research company in the world. www.tnsofres.com Consumers rejected new car sales through supermarkets. They felt less confident about their ability to match franchised dealer standards, reporting negative feelings for quality of aftersales service, repair safety and provision of technical information. The five countries polled represent over 80 per cent of new car sales in Europe. 71 per cent of all polled agree with the statement ‘When I buy a car I also buy the dealership for maintenance of the brand’. The current block exemption regulation, EC 1475/95, will be reviewed in September 2002. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

Leave a Comment