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NewsOFT wants insurance probeCompetition Commission expected to look at inflated costs involved in private motor claimsBy Neil KennettThe Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced a provisional decision to refer the private motor insurance market to the Competition Commis­sion after a study found 'evidence that insurers compete in a dysfunctional way that may push up premiums for drivers by £225m a year'.The accusation is that costs are inflated by the insurer of the 'not-at-fault' driver, with claims management referral fees and whiplash claims in the spotlight. It could have implications for dealers' revenue streams from accident manage­ment services and crash repair.Welcoming the news, Nick Starling, of the Asso­ciation of British Insurers (ABI), said: "For too long insurers and people paying premiums have faced inflated rates for credit hire cars and exces­sive hire periods, which have led to higher premiums," he said.Andrew Moody, managing director of Retail Motor Law (RML), said: "I applaud the OFT. It is the right decision given the shocking evidence."Dealers have told AM of their concern that younger and inexperienced drivers are being deterred from car ownership because of high insurance costs.The OFT's study suggest that practices which appear to inflate the cost of replacement vehicles provided to not-at-fault drivers, making it on average £560 more expensive each time, included:n After road traffic accidents, many insurers of not-at-fault drivers, brokers and repairers, refer those drivers to credit hire organisations that tend to charge higher daily hire rates, in exchange for a referral fee of between £250 and £400 per car hire.n Not-at-fault drivers appear to receive replace­ment vehicles for longer than necessary, leading to inflated bills for the at-fault driver's insurer.Practices which appear to be inflating the cost of repairs to not at-fault drivers' vehicles by £155 on average each time, included:n Some insurers receive referral fees and rebates from repairers, paint suppliers and parts suppliers. It appears the cost of these referral fees and rebates to insurers increases the repair bills being passed to the at-fault driver's insurer.n Certain insurers have agreements with their approved repairers to charge higher labour rates when repairing the vehicle of the not-at-fault driver which they insure, leading to higher bills being passed to the at-fault driver's insurer.A final decision is expected in October.To view the full market study Click here

By Simon Bowkett, of Symco TrainingIn the last couple of issues of the AM ezine we've talked about how sales managers can help their sales staff stay on track with customers, by intervening at key points in the 'road to the sale' process. The third and final review stage is where you get out there and talk to the customer about the deal. Managers often say they haven't got time to second-face or double-close customers, but it's one of the most important aspects of the job. It is also a very effective way of selling cars. So, have a look at the video and put the techniques into practice. You will get results from them I guarantee!Don't let them walk until the boss talksImprove your selling skills - for freeFor a link to more free online videos, email me at or call on 01829 760 679. Or follow me on Twitter @SymcoSimonJaguar ousts Lexus in satisfaction surveyLexus has been knocked off the top spot of the J.D. Power and Associates/What Car? 2012 UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study for the first time in 11-years.Jaguar took top spot this year, with Lexus dropping to share second place with Skoda.The study was based on the evaluations of nearly 18,000 individuals in the UK after an average of two years ownership.Every aspect of vehicle ownership was rated from performance, design and comfort to quality, reliability, and cost of ownership, economy and dealer service satisfaction.Chevrolet took the bottom position at 27 and Vauxhall was in second to last place at 26.The 2012 survey included only one Chev-rolet, the Matiz, because the Spark and Cruze were still too new to appear. Dealer service was one of the Chevrolet's less criticised areas, so the brand should be able to improve next when new cars are included.New car marketNewsDealer conferenceUsed caranalysisNewsRecruitmentdigestDealerprofileShowroomAdvertisement featureTop 10 Bottom 10 1 Jaguar 17= Peugeot, Mazda 2= Lexus 19 Alfa Romeo2= Skoda 20= Citroën4 Honda 20= Hyundai5 Mercedes-Benz 22 Mitsubishi6 Toyota 23 Renault7 Audi 24 Suzuki 8 Volkswagen 25 Fiat9 Volvo 26 Vauxhall 10 BMW 27 ChevroletWinners and losers