THIS WEEK

For many, I suppose, it is nice to read about something other than the coronavirus pandemic in the news. However, if you are in the automotive industry the next worst thing to read about is that yet another manufacturer is being investigated for potential emissions “cheating”. It was announced today that Fiat Chrysler is being investigated by authorities in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The investigation has included raids on their offices, as potentially illegal software, it is claimed, has been detected in a range of cars and commercial vehicles. It is certain that European authorities are keen to cut down on this type of software, which no doubt will miraculously disappear as soon as we all go electric, but it is said that Mercedes, Renault and Nissan are also under active investigation.

FCA and PSA were also in the news in the past 10 days, as they have announced the name of their new, merged group will be Stellantis. A rather obscure name, many would think, apparently it means something like “brightened with stars” – it is not named after a mythical town where you could get a well-known lager.

As Tesla has announced its fourth quarters profit in a row, it seems the analysts have finally started believing the hype and the share price has reacted accordingly. The future is bright, the future is electric is the message.

Have a great weekend, the Premier league will be finally over. Ready for it to start again in a couple of weeks.

Need to brush up that CV? A compelling, well laid out, expertly created professional CV can be the difference between an interview and rejection.

 Our Workagain division is creating professional CVs for people in many industries. And they really do work. Why not take a look here.

 Call us or email if you are interested in what is proving to be a very popular service.

 
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 – 2006)
Always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.
Terry Pratchett
It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – )
To die is nothing; but it is terrible not to live.
Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), Les Miserables

THIS WEEK

They say that the coronavirus pandemic has brought forward changes in many industries. Food, pharmacies, garden centres have dramatically changed their models. We reckon what may have happened over the course of five years, has been brought forward by 2, 3  or even 4 years. It is possible that its effects will run even deeper and change everything even faster.

Take, for example, the headlines in the Financial Times this week. Normally there is lots written about all types of market development. Instead the first 10 articles are all about electric. “Battery start-up in Wales”, “BMW agrees €2bn battery contract”, “Nissan unveils new electric rival to Tesla”, “Rethinking Energy”, “Tesla’s share price rise stuns Musk”. And those are just the first five or six. Everything is focusing on electric, it will all change.

One of the main drivers of this, of course, ore the European regulations for manufacturers this year. Perhaps they won’t be facing quite the £30bn fines that many were worried about, that is only because vehicle sales will not be quite at those levels. If they do not get their emissions mix correct, then they will certainly face the wrath of the EU commission.

All of this poses real problems for the dealers, of course. I have used the analogy before, but we are moving to a completely new technology that needs very different levels of maintenance. And we all remember (if we are old enough) those TV shops of our youth, with a thriving aftersales department replacing the valves in your television, or giving the rented TV set a service. They have just been re-tuning the three channel buttons, but it made money. Then all of that disappeared from the High Street, and TVs just became throwaways.Nobody is quite suggesting you are going to start throwing away cars in the same way, but when the only replaceable part at a 20,000 mile service is the pollen filter, dealers are going to have to think up some very creative ways of making money out of aftersales if the whole fleet goes electric.

Have a great weekend, time to book your holiday, perhaps?Need to brush up that CV? A compelling, well laid out, professionally created CV really get you noticed in a pile of applications.  Our Workagain division is creating professional CVs for people in many industries. And they really do work. Why not take a look here. 

Or call us or email if you are interested in what is proving to be a very popular service.

 
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964)
Well done is better than well said.
Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)
One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.
Marie Curie (1867 – 1934), letter to her brother, 1894
Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.
Charles F. Kettering (1876 – 1958)

THIS WEEK

A bit of a disagreement, it would be too strong to call it a row, has broken out this week between Robert Forrester, head of Vertu, and the SMMT. Because after publishing the June figures, which I have to say were in stark contrast to the reports we were receiving around the industry, Vertu’s boss has come out and said that the SMMT figures have not painted a true or accurate picture of the month.

 

Many of the dealers we have spoken to have confirmed that June was actually quite a strong month, with enquiries and indeed retail sales up significantly on the same month last year. So why did the SMMT figures show a 35% drop? Robert Forrester’s argument, and it probably has more than a ring of truth to it, was that neither the manufacturers nor the retailers wanted to engage in the normal end of month registration rush. In other words, nobody knew what the market was going to be like, so they were not chasing market share.

 

This clearly may well change this month, as we have all had a few weeks back and are better able to gauge what the customer is thinking. Certainly some are predicting a V shaped recovery from recession. Others are confident that with consumers needing alternative ways to get to work when they return, the car will be seen as one of the safest ways of getting there. Let’s see what the next few months bring.

 

Otherwise, there is little in the news to cheer the soul. The government’s budget, or mini budget announced on Wednesday, provided little incentive for new car buyers. There is a growing call for a scrappage scheme along the line of some European countries, together with subsidies for electric vehicles to coincide with the green drive the Chancellor seems to be pushing.

 

Have a great weekend, the world almost seems complete now that cricket is back.

 

Need to brush up that CV? A compelling, well laid out, professionally created CV can say much more about you than your home-made efforts. Especially, as many seem not to have time to invest in this most important document.

 

Our Workagain division is creating professional CVs for people in many industries. And they really do work.

 

Call us or email if you are interested in what is proving to be a very popular service.

 
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win.
Ed Macauley
When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.
Henry J. Kaiser (1882 – 1967)
I’ve never known any trouble that an hour’s reading didn’t assuage.
Charles De Secondat (1689 – 1755)
You can question somebody’s views and their judgement without questioning their motives or
patriotism. 
Barack Obama (1961 – ), University of Michigan Commencement, 2010

THIS WEEK
 

On Wednesday we launched a proper, professional CV writing service. And a busy week it has been, but highly successful.

We still have some £99 CV writing vouchers left, if you need a new CV then we will either write one from scratch for you, or help you rewrite your current one. Full details are on our www.workagain.co.uk site. If you go to this store and select the CV writing service, just put the following code in at the checkout to make sure you benefit from this special price for automotive job seekers – MTS99JUL. This offer is open to the first 50 jobseekers.

In the meantime, news this week has been dominated by Lookers ongoing problems. As many will be aware, what initially looked like a serious £4 million hole in their accounts has turned into something altogether larger. The group had already announced a number of redundancies, it is difficult to see how it can avoid further cuts, especially as it had to suspend its shares on Wednesday to protect itself from the fallout. As if times were not challenging enough in the current market.

On a positive note, however, many of our clients have been reporting a bumper June. Some have said to us it was their busiest month for a long time, and possibly their best June ever. Quite how long this buoyant feeling will last rather depends on how quickly the country emerges from lockdown. With pubs among the many businesses allowed to open this Saturday, showrooms might be a little quieter than they have been.

Lookers are certainly not alone in suffering from the current pandemic, and manufacturers such as Daimler are predicting that market contraction caused by coronavirus will probably result in a much greater restructuring than they or anybody else had already planned. Everybody, including BMW, is racing to comply with EU emission standards just as sales have fallen off a cliff, and electric seems to be the way. And even if all of that wasn’t bad enough for the traditional motor industry, Tesla has seen a surge in its shares as deliveries are well ahead of expectations. It seems that the pandemic has changed the world, and it may well have changed the minds of car buyers too.

Have a great weekend. Football, Formula One, golf are all back, it’s cricket’s turn next week!

 
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

To follow, without halt, one aim: There’s the secret of success.
Anna Pavlova (1885 – 1931)
My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
Winston Groom, Forrest Gump
About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.
Gloria Pitzer, in Reader’s Digest, 1979
I learned early that sometimes you have to dig through garbage to get anywhere.
Michael Hainey, After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story, 2013
THIS WEEK
 

We have a bit of a special offer for you. A CV Writing service aimed at the automotive industry – £99 for the first 50 job-seekers who want a professional compelling CV compiled by the industry experts (and we promise it will be good). Just drop me a line and we will send you all the details on Tuesday next week – guyl@mtselect.co.uk.

Why are we doing this now? Many of you may know that we have a sister company, BackupHR, which specialises in HR and employment law. And we have been delivering outplacement courses for their clients for many years, across a number of different industries. And challenging and enjoyable work it is too. And we have created plenty of great, original CVs for delegates to the courses.

So with plenty of requests from candidates across many industries, we thought we would offer it to those in our core sector, which we have never done before. It is something we have done for many years, and we have all of the software to do quickly efficiently, but most importantly compellingly.  This is considerably below many specialist CV writing specialists rates, whose documents we can normally spot instantly, and which often fail to hit the mark for such a results orientated sector as our own.

In other news this week, Aston Martin seems to have raised £260 million to pull itself out of the mire. Though they do say they are still quite deep in it. A much loved, iconic brand, it has had a pretty tough two years. And just as it launched its saviour model, the DBX, everyone shut their doors and stayed inside for Covid 19. Let us hope the second half of 2020 is better for them. The rest of the news will not make great reading this week, and the prospects for recruitment within the automotive industry for the next couple of months at least look less than rosy.

There will be winners and there will be losers from this challenging period. And despite the tales of doom and gloom, we will almost certainly finish up the year in a better place than we think is possible just now.

Have a great weekend, if you know any Liverpool fans probably best not to accept a call from them in the next couple of days, it could go on for some time.

 

 
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

One never knows what each day is going to bring. The important thing is to be open and ready for it.
Henry Moore (1898 – 1986)
You always pass failure on the way to success.
Mickey Rooney (1920 – )
It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you.
Lillian Hellman (1905 – 1984)
Anything that has real and lasting value is always a gift from within.
Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924)
THIS WEEK

As the motor industry returns to work, and customers return in some numbers to showrooms and aftersales departments, there is still considerable uncertainty around.

With the news this week that Lookers has closed more sites, and is set to make some fairly drastic redundancies, we fear that they will not be the last. Ironically, however, the problems on public transport could mean that many have to turn to a vehicle to manage their journey into work. One of the reasons why the government guidance says that if you can work from home, continue to do so, is to take pressure off those transport networks. But for those that can’t, they may suddenly have to get hold of the right vehicle. And with today’s interest rates, and the amount of stock lying around, that might just be affordable for many families.

We are certainly not seeing much activity in the market at present, though there are some tentative conversations, and despite the well-publicised problems, we have had a number of candidates start in the past couple of months.

Ironically, as an organisation, we have been very busy because our sister company, BackupHR, specialises in HR and employment law. And our Thursday morning briefing has been extremely well attended, as we take everybody through the ins and outs of a rapidly evolving HR environment against the background of Covid 19 and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Registration for next week’s Webinar is here, the full agenda will appear closer to the time as the issues become clearer.

 

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Human beings are seventy percent water, and with some the rest is collagen.
Martin Mull (1943 – )
If absolute power corrupts absolutely, does absolute powerlessness make you pure?
Harry Shearer 
Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.
Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804)
The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.
Arthur Koestler (1905 – 1983)
THIS WEEK
It has not exactly been a stellar start to the year for the car industry, nor for many others looking at what is about to face us with Covid-19. Headlines across the Financial Times and other respected titles point to a slowdown in production for many manufacturers as a result of supply chain problems, and local difficulties experienced in places such as the North of Italy. Having weathered the Brexit storm, to be faced with what is potentially a far greater effect to our economy is not good news. And it looks as if many decisions on recruitment and investment will have to be delayed as this current health crisis passes through.

And delay is a word that those who work for Lookers will not welcome at the moment. On Wednesday it announced it was delaying the publication of its annual results until mid April at the earliest. This was due to its investigation into fraudulent activities in one of its divisions. You will remember that the group were already subject to an FSA investigation into their use of financial services products, and were completely reviewing their sales process. Earlier this year they had announced the appointment of a new CEO and COO. By yesterday, that new Chief Operating Officer had left the company. No one quite knows why, but the timing is not good.

As Lookers look to another reorganisation, so one of Europe’s major franchises has announced a restructure of its own. Stuart Rowley, Ford of Europe president, announced that Ford is planning to make deep cuts in its European retail network. And the UK is one of their prime targets. Analysts think that at least 180 of their 400 dealer network are at risk. To be fair, that would leave a franchise that now sells no more than most of its competitors with a network of dealers about the same size as its competitors. Such reorganisations will always be painful, but Ford is probably left with little choice. I remember it did not have many more dealers back in the late 80s when its market share was well above 20%. How times have changed.

Have a great weekend, it might be time to cancel your Sky Sports subscription as there is very little on.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

The incompetent with nothing to do can still make a mess of it.
Laurence J. Peter (1919 – 1988) 
If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.
Peter Ustinov (1921 – 2004)
You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.
Michael Pritchard
Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one’s own opinion.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914), The Devil’s Dictionary
THIS WEEK
Sales figures in February didn’t look very pretty really. In fact with the UK just dropping 3%, you would have to say we had a bit of a result. Spain dropped 6%, Germany was down 11%, but then China was down 80%. A figure which makes everybody else’s irrelevant really, as they represent about 20% of global sales.

On the whole, I am a great admirer of what Google has been able to achieve. They dominate the search engine market, their Android system seems pretty robust for phones and their G suite applications have given Microsoft Office a pretty good run for their money.

But a warning today not to cross them, and certainly not to leave them with any trade secrets. All of which is perfectly reasonable, but you have to feel a touch of sympathy for their ex-head of self driving cars as he declared himself bankrupt this week in the face of a $179 million lawsuit, alleging he leaked trade secrets. A lawsuit that it looks as if he will lose.  I suspect it will have the desired effect, and the next person to leave them will probably not take many secrets along.

GM has not had too much good news recently, but they have been extremely bullish over the last week, announcing their new battery or electric vehicle platform Ultrium. For a normal car, they are claiming ranges in excess of 400 miles and 0-60 times of three seconds. Quite some powertrain. And they reckon that the technology will cost two thirds of similar power units.

Clearly a very green alternative and they have promised to introduce it across much of their range by 2023. Intriguingly, however, for such a green initiative, guess the first model they plan to introduce it in? The Hummer. Well I guess if they can make a difference in that type of vehicle, then your average small family run around will be a piece of cake.

Have a great weekend – only 220 wet, rainy days until Christmas (and a few dozen dry ones)

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 – 1799)
Nothing is as irritating as the fellow who chats pleasantly while he’s overcharging you.
Kin Hubbard (1868 – 1930)
It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) 
The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.
George Eliot (1819 – 1880)
THIS WEEK
I was not going to talk about coronavirus this week. After all, it is covered in great depth in lots of other
media around the world. However, the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show next week throws into focus just what an effect this virus is having on the world and its economy. Coincidentally, wearing my other hat as MD of another company, BackupHR, we are running a webinar for employers on Monday, at 11 AM, regarding what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your workforce. There are still a few places left, it will last little more than 30 minutes,  click here to register
 
Renault did not have a good year last year. Ongoing problems over the departure of its chief executive, a poor relationship with Nissan and a deteriorating market share saw their profits tumble. Today they announced they are selling some of their retail dealerships. These are in France, but it will be interesting to see if they are going to continue that trend around Europe. They claim to be Europe’s biggest retailer with over 275 outlets. If they are looking to save money, then there is an awful lot of capital and overhead tied up in such a network.
 
Some better news for VW this week, as they say that they have reached an agreement in Germany with a major consumer group who took out a class action against them. The company itself has announced they have agreed an 830 million Euro settlement. Divided between 260,000 customers, that sounds like just over €3000 a head, though apparently it depends upon the value, the spec and the age of the vehicle. Automotive News Europe reckons the scandal has cost the carmaker €30 billion so far in fines and penalties.
 
Finally, it is probably the law of unintended consequences, but the coronavirus might just be kicking into plan much wider use of online sales platforms. AM magazine reports that Geely has been the latest to launch an online service in China, sales through car showrooms plummeted 92% in the first half of February. Clearly this was largely as a result of the country’s lockdown in the face of the epidemic. The company has apparently worked on what is called a fully contactless service, even offering test drives without anybody having to come into contact with anybody else. Once you make this sort of thing happen, who knows where it will stop. Not good news for their dealers going forward.
 

Have a great weekend – don’t forget, March does not start until Sunday.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), (attributed) 
Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from.
Jodie Foster (1962 – )
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
Hannah Arendt (1906 – 1975)
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)
THIS WEEK

If we thought the automotive world had troubles last year, welcome to 2020.

It’s been quite a week for Renault. First of all Moody’s, the ratings agency, downgraded their debt to junk status. After profits have been wiped out in the past year it is clear that analysts are punishing it, worried that it will not be able to return itself to its previous healthy state. At almost exactly the same time French prosecutors have announced a probe into Carlos Goshn, their former high-profile chief executive. They are looking into misuse of funds and abuse of corporate assets as well as things like money-laundering over the past 11 years. Things don’t get much better for him, do they? How quickly you can fall from grace.

Tesla’s German operation also had an interesting week. On Wednesday they had to stop work on their new gigafactory because of claims by environmentalists that they were cutting down trees in a precious environment. They still have not got the complete go-ahead for their new site, but the courts have allowed them to restart their felling of the forest on the new 350 acre site. Remember, this is the factory that the UK thought it had a good chance of getting, but that Brexit word got in the way. Politicians had warned that the legal battle that environmentalists were waging would  inflict serious damage on Germany’s image as a good place to do business.

I covered the Coronavirus in depth last week, but the headlines still will not go away. I love the report of Jaguar Land Rover getting parts out of China in suitcases – that Range Rover waiting on the production line is obviously worth it. And a couple of hours ago the company announced plans that it was shelving plans to sell bonds to raise cash. Apparently investors have looked at the risks around a severe downturn caused by the virus and backed away.

Finally, a number of manufacturers are getting their excuses in early. Coronavirus is to blame as there are claims that the first half of February has seen sales slump by 92% in China. Daimler, Nissan, Honda warning of serious adverse effects and are delaying production or pointing out that production in other countries will be affected. VW has seen its own sales in the country fall significantly at the start of this year. And as news of an outbreak in Korea gathers pace, I don’t expect Hyundai and Kia will be immune either.

Have a great weekend, summer is only 4 months away. 2021 only 10 away.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three men, two of whom are absent.
Robert Copeland
One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.
Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) 
A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
Lenin (1870 – 1924)
Always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.
Terry Pratchett
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