economic downturn will claim some large scalps in the motor
warned of “critical times ahead”, while Sergio Marchionne, head of
Fiat, predicts that only around half a dozen volume carmakers will
emerge from the other side of the recession, formed from the merged
remnants of today’s global brands.
The drama at General Motors Europe continues to fascinate, with
its German dealers reportedly planning to band to-
gether to buy a stake in the firm, while German chancellor Angela
Merkel has said that the government will not take a stake in the
firm, although it may offer it some form of aid to help it
Across the pond in the United States, GM and Chrysler will find
out how much aid they will receive from the government when the
autos task force presents its views on 31 March.
Closer to home, automotive group Paragon has snapped up
“significant elements” of the collapsed Camden Fleet Services
chain. And the soap opera at Welcome (see Near-collapse of
subprime lender Welcome) continues, with the subprime hire
purchase provider’s management team suspended and bean-counters and
beaks investigating the books.
Van and car rental specialist Northgate has released a severe
profit warning, hit hard by low residuals for the LCVs which make
up the heart of its 68,000-strong fleet, and has said that rental
prices will inevitably have to increase – which could be bad news
for lessors who buy in rental from third-party providers.
The low margins in the rental business have contributed to the
downfall of 1car1 (see Hire business 1car1 goes into
administration) – even though it is believed to have operated
David Betteley, head of Toyota Financial Services UK and
vice-president of the captive’s Europe and Africa regions opened
his speech at the recent Motor Finance Europe conference by noting
that he would try and avoid depressing the audience too much, and
only showed one slide in which the line on the graph went from top
left to bottom-right.
His speech, indeed, accentuated the positives, but also strongly
emphasised the need for innovation and adaptation of systems,
processes and routes to market (see Battening down the
hatches for full coverage of the conference).
And a recent YouGov survey on behalf of Europcar found that a
quarter of respondents now say that in their view, the cost of
owning a car outweighs the benefits.
Which companies will benefit from this striking shift in public