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New car marketNewsDealerprofileNew car newsUsed carRecruitmentanalysisNews digestShowroomAM PROMOTIONSir Philip Green, the doyen of UK retailing, recently suggested that flatlining in 2012 should be seen as the new growth. Perhaps many in the automotive industry would secretively subscribe to his view. So, while we cannot control the impact that the global economic climate has on the industry, perhaps we should turn to aspects of our business for which we can retain total control?As we all continue to search for the silver bullet of 2012, we may be able to simultaneously develop a series of internal bullets that have the ability to compound into the singular silver bullet that is so often sought.At this stage, the people, processes and technology of our operations come into sharp focus. After all, these areas are controllable and may just contain an opportunity to develop an alternative approach to enhance operational and financial performances (and so the first of many internal bullets is formed).Supagard's experience and understanding of the manufacturer and retail aspects of the UK automotive industry facilitate the provision of bespoke and proven performance enhancement strategies that are strongly aligned with the people, processes and technology of their client base.Experienced and trusted suppliers represent an integral aspect of business operations. If that experience and trust also supports your search for performance enhancements then maybe that search for internal bullets just became that bit easier. SPONSOR'S COMMENTTHE UK'S NO. 1

Dealer profile Pendragonwill be gone. The way we sell new cars today will have gone."If a £3.6 billion turnover group with more than 250 franchised dealerships and employing 9,300 people can make such a prediction, that's a signal to all motor retailers that they must move with the times."Over the last 20-odd years I've done this job, every single year it's become tougher. So there's absolutely no realistic possibility of that changing. Everything is faster, more competitive, more transparent. "Whichever piece of the business you look at it's got to be getting better in order to stand still, or you've got Sponsored byContinues"Don't be distracted by the wider economic climate"An underlying message of Trevor Finn's interview with AM was that dealers should concentrate on what they can control and influence rather than be distracted by the wider economic climate and media gloom.While he recognised the "dark clouds" over the industry in 2012, Finn's assurance was that it was nothing dealers hadn't seen before. He described the 2008 credit crunch as "a much darker place" than today, and said Pendragon had moved forward since then and expects to move forward again this year."When we went into 2008 it was a little bit like driving into a big fog bank and nobody knew what was inside it, which was quite a scary thing. Looking at 2012 people will see the fog bank, but this time they're much more familiar with what's in there and what to do," he added.Finn showed AM slides tracking the trend of new car market in the 1989 recession and subsequent slow recovery against the current economy. It took almost a decade to reach pre-recession levels. Excluding the influence of 2009's scrappage scheme, the post-2008 market is following a similar pattern, which suggests it will could be 2020 before it peaks again."If you know that then you don't have to get yourself all excited about how it's going to be great again in two years time, do you?" said Finn. "That was last time, so why would it be any different."to be getting better to stand still. A lot of people miss that. From a leadership point of view if a lot of people are doing what they were doing five years ago, the way they did it five years ago, their output isn't as great as it would have been five years ago."So Pendragon is changing. Gone are the days of massive acquisitions of the likes of Reg Vardy and CD Bramall. Now the group has to grow its own. Finn believes its profitability can be doubled, even trebled, by improving what it already has and does.He is pragmatic about the new car market - produc-tion schedules are set, cars will come, and the cars will get registered, he said. "So for us it's quite an easy thing