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New car marketNewsDealerprofileUsed caranalysisInsight: RecruitmentPeugeot UKNews digestNew carnewsUsed Toyotas' five-year warrantyToyota has introduced a new warranty programme for customers buying its Approved Used cars with up to 150,000 miles on the clock. This is a Toyota-backed warranty, not a third-party insurance product, and customers can extend the basic 12 months' cover for a further four years. If the car is less than five years old they can choose up to 48 additional months. If it is between five and eight years old then cover is only available for another 24 months.Source AM March 22Read more....People award for carmakersVauxhall Motors and Bentley Motors are the only two vehicle manufacturers to feature among 67 companies in the 2012 Britain's Top Employers list. Organised by the CRF Institute, the list is compiled by research of entrants' HR management, including primary and secondary benefits, working conditions, training, career development and company culture, all scored against a five-star scale. Vauxhall Motors scored four to five stars in every category. Bentley Motors scored three to four stars in every category.Source AM March 26Read more....BMW and Mini service honourThe Institute of Customer Service has honoured BMW Group UK for its commitment to excellent and innovative customer satisfaction. The ICS has presented the prestigious Kcom Customer Feedback Strategy Award to BMW Group UK's first customer director, Richard Price. The award recognises in particular the customer service system in operation in all BMW and Mini UK dealerships that allows every customer to rate their experience on a five-star scale and write specific comments on dealer websites.Source AM March 21Read more....Economy newsConsumer caution with spendingCautious consumers' repayments on credit cards, loans and overdrafts outstripped new borrowing by £305 million in February, figures show. This safety-first approach had led to a contraction in borrowing through loans and overdrafts. The figures, from the British Bankers' Association showed a slowdown in the mortgage market.Source BBC March 23Read more....Vacant shops sign of pressuresThe proportion of shops in Britain lying empty has hit a new record of 14.6% in February, according to figures compiled by the Local Data Company. Vacancy rates had begun to stabilise at the end of 2011, but they have risen in January and February. It is further evidence of a difficult start to the year for retailers. Source BBC March 23Read more....More higher rate taxpayersFive million workers on 'relatively modest salaries' could be dragged into a higher rate of tax as a result of changes to tax threshold announced in the Budget. The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimates that 'fiscal drag' could mean that the number of people paying 40% tax could rise from 3.7 million in 2011 to five million by 2014. Source Accountancy Age March 23Read more....

Insight Peugeot UKn light of Renault UK's ongoing reorganisation, Tim Zimmerman was quick to point out that Peugeot UK has no plans for a radical reorganisation or reduction of its franchised dealer network. It re-shaped its network from 2007 when it shrank from 310 sales points to 240, well ahead of his arrival last September. Now it wants to retain a stable network of 'Blue Boxes' focused on putting customers first.This year will be exciting for Peugeot's network due to product launches, most importantly the arrival in June New products spearhead Peugeot's sales driveFrench carmaker is quick to dispel any suggestions that it will follow Renault and reduce the size of its network or model range. Tim Rose reportsIof the 208, but also the addition of diesel hybrid power­train into the 3008 and 508 range. The B-segment is Peugeot's biggest market, so 208 will be a huge oppor­tunity for the network. Zimmerman said the quality and packaging of the new car means dealers will be able to conquest customers from other brands. Despite the economic conditions, Peugeot is optimistic. The carmaker's aim is for a 5.7% share of the total new car market this year - a 0.8 percentage point improvement on 2011, about an extra 15,000 sales.Peugeot's 'just add fuel' inclusive package has been successful in bringing new customers, and accounts for 11% of retail sales. Many of these customers are younger than the brand's typical 50-year-old average. A package will be applied to 208 from launch, and sales director Neil Moscrop expects its success to bring down the average customer age. He also expects a high proportion of mid and high-specification model sales.Such higher margin sales will be welcome, as Zimmerman admitted profitability is "not good enough" and it remains difficult for dealers to make money. The network average is "about breakeven", he said, although the norm for established sites is 1% return on sales. Top performers are achieving 1.5%."We're working to make it better," he said. Peugeot has worked with the dealer council on cost reductions, such as optimising demonstrators, centralising new car stocks, freezing training charges and reducing the cost of marketing programmes. The goodwill budget for out-of-warranty repairs has been delegated to the network's control, to help with customer retention.Nevertheless, Zimmerman added: "Reducing dealers' costs is not enough, the dealer has to be good at every line of the business too. Compare the first quartile's performance with the third's and you see the first is better at everything."Tim Zimmerman