THIS WEEK

Well 2019 is only a few days old, but it is already looking like a particularly difficult year. So much for the hope that we could turn a corner this January.
Two stories clearly dominate UK news this week, first of all Jaguar Land Rover and Ford are preparing to cut thousands of jobs in the UK. Let us look at JLR first. With plans to cut up to 5,000 jobs, this is not very long after they announced cuts last April totalling 1,000 contractors to their manufacturing side. This time the emphasis will be more on distribution and marketing, though they have not guaranteed that factory positions will not go. It has been a pretty disastrous 18 months for the manufacturer, coming at a time when dealers have had to invest eye watering amounts in their new “Arch Concept” combined dealerships. With some groups still to put their hands in their pocket for some sites, you wonder what leverage the manufacturer will have to make sure this goes ahead.
Ford’s market share in Europe has slumped over the past couple of years, from 8% to around 6.5%. In a market as big as Europe, that is tough to recover from. Put alongside Vauxhalls well published problems (don’t forget they used to be part of GM until they were sold to Peugeot last year) the American manufacturers are having a tough time. Which is not surprising, as they have not been at the vanguard of the new technical revolution, and both (as well as JLR) have been slow to move away from diesel technology into electric and hybrid.
The other story to dominate is not really an automotive issue, but it is an automotive problem. And by this time next week it looks as if we will have a little more certainty, or uncertainty, over the future of the whole country. Because until Brexit is sorted out, car manufacturers will continue to desert the UK and move their production to mainland Europe. This is no longer “project fear”, it is the simple reality of being within or outside of the EU.
Have a great weekend. 2019 can only get better, we hope.
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
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

If men could only know each other, they would neither idolize nor hate.
Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)
My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?
Charles M. Schulz (1922 – 2000)
In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from.
Peter Ustinov (1921 – 2004)

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910)

THIS WEEK

Happy New Year to everybody. Hopefully 2019 will turn out to be more hopeful, more prosperous and more settled than we fear it might be. For a whole variety of reasons, not all linked to the U.K.’s exit from the EU, things will change dramatically this year. And the future of motor retailing in particular will crystallise, as technologies, distribution channels and ways of working move quickly to a new model. The problem is, we just don’t know what that model will be yet.
In the meantime, rather than get bogged down in domestic economic matters I have been reading the Wall Street Journal. The US has enjoyed its fourth record year of sales in a row. And at more than 17 million vehicles, a country that is about five times larger than the UK sells about seven times as many vehicles. But then the US is a big place.
And they cover a story that we have seen over here quite a bit, but have probably forgotten about during the Christmas break. The saga of Carlos Ghosn and his Japanese arrest. Apparently early next week he is challenging the basis upon which he has been detained, and in the meantime another senior director, Greg Kelly, has been released from jail, on bail. Something that happened on Christmas Day.
The paper also covers some of the Japanese prosecutors suspicions, things that I have not read about over here. It makes a fascinating read, and while Mr Ghosn looks to defend himself I am not going to repeat any of the allegations here. Partly because I have no idea whether they are true or not.
So it’s back to work, and probably back to reconsidering your own future. That is certainly been the case with many who have called us this week. Have a great weekend.
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
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

An optimist stays up to see the New Year in. A pessimist waits to make sure the old one leaves.
Bill Vaughan
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
Oprah Winfrey (1954 – ), O Magazine
Each new day is a blank page in the diary of your life. The secret of success is in turning that diary into the best story you possibly can.
Douglas Pagels, A Wonderful Resolution For The New Year!
Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average. Which means you’ve met your New Year’s resolution.
Jay Leno (1950 – )
THIS WEEK

For many people today is probably a quiet day of reflection before the madness of Christmas Day and beyond. Though that may not be the case for one or two franchises, whose manufacturers have just released a whole load of new cars. And guess what? They’ll want them registering before the end of the year. You finally sort out your supply problems caused by WLTP and a whole host of other commercial problems arrive instead. I suspect that December 31 this year may be rather busier than the normal New Year’s Eve.
Not so busy for former Nissan boss Carlos Ghoshn however. Newspaper reports late last week suggested that the courts had refused to extend his bail and were set to release him. However, yesterday we heard that he had been rearrested under different charges and will almost certainly spend the next few weeks continuing his stay in jail. All of which leaves the thorny problem for rudderless Renault at this moment, as they are without their guiding light and presumably have limited access to him.
Another big personality was in the news last week. Trevor Finn, who has been at the helm of Pendragon for the past 30 years, announced a well earned retirement. Life has not been easy for any of the bigger groups in the past year – while it is reported that he owns 16.9 million shares, at only 22p each in this morning’s market they certainly won’t go as far as they did a few years ago, when the shares topped 150p. On the other hand, he has probably got enough to live quite comfortably on.
It only remains for me to wish you all a very happy festive season, to thank all our candidates and clients for their custom this year and to look forward to a more successful 2019. One that is not blighted by debates about Europe (probably a forlorn hope), about the U.K.’s future in the global economy and about the future of the automotive industry in this country. But for a few days we can forget all about that.
Happy Brexmas everyone.
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
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

The problem with the designated driver program, it’s not a desirable job, but if you ever get sucked into doing it, have fun with it. At the end of the night, drop them off at the wrong house.
Jeff Foxworthy
The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.
Aesop (620 BC – 560 BC)
Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.
Lenore HersheyA turkey never voted for an early Christmas.
Irish Proverb
THIS WEEK

I have searched high and low for another story bigger for our industry than the dramatic arrest in Japan this week of Carlos Ghosn, who until last week was one of the most important people in the global automotive industry. For those who have never heard his name, he was the man who was credited with sorting out a heavily indebted Nissan and returning it to be one of the most profitable automotive manufacturers for its size. He was then responsible for tying it very closely to Renault for he is also currently Chairman and CEO. More recently Mitsubishi has joined the fold. His arrest, for alleged misconduct in Japan, has shaken the automotive world and the three manufacturers under his care.
Say what you like about the Internet, but it does this type of rumour-mongering  very well. Conspiracy theories abound, was Nissan worried about ceding too much to Renault? Were the Japanese authorities worried about losing control of one of their most important manufacturers? Or has he simply been caught with his hand in the till? Nobody knows except those most closely involved, but they picture is certainly complicated, not least by the cross holdings of shares between the companies.
In the Times today they say that Renault cautioned against precipitous action, and that Nissan ignored them. It is also rumoured that as Nissan have effectively sacked their Chief Executive Renault has requested for a replacement on the board. And Nissan have turned round and said as he is still on the board there is no extra place available!
Whichever rumour you choose to believe, whichever side you take, it is a right mess for each of the manufacturers. If charges are proven in Japan, and let us not forget that Mr Ghosn is under arrest there, the newspaper reports suggest he could get up to 10 years in jail. Which certainly will not help him run Renault, where he is still very firmly employed. Renault themselves are going through a challenging time, not least with a contracting world market and a rapid move away from diesel technology in which they had become so proficient. With Nissan’s experience of electronic vehicles with the class leading Leaf, the sharing of technology and expertise would surely have benefited Renault. That looks less likely to happen now.
According to the Wall Street Journal he still has the back of the French Government in all of this. They own 15% of Renault and minister Bruno Le Maire has been quoted as saying that he has seen no evidence “justifying the accusations against Carlos Ghosn”. What a mess.
Have a great weekend, wherever you are.
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

In these matters the only certainty is that nothing is certain.
Pliny the Elder (23 AD – 79 AD)
Seek simplicity, and distrust it.
Alfred North Whitehead (1861 – 1947)
An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible.
Alfred A. Knopf
One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.
Rita Mae Brown
THIS WEEK

Whenever I start to write this newsletter, I always dial into the Financial Times for inspiration. They generally carry the most up-to-date news and articles about the automotive industry. None more so than this week.
To begin with, everybody is talking about the fall in sales in China. October is down 12% year on year. And while we have suffered similar drops in past years in the UK, one month of China’s sales equals approximately one year of UK sales. So it’s effect on the global market is massive. Last year they sold 28.8 million units. A pathetic sales penetration in the face of 1.5 billion inhabitants I will admit, but still very significant, and one that worries many European manufacturers, especially the Germans, who have up until now done extremely well over there.
Their second headline “Brexit isn’t the UK car industry’s biggest problem” is very appropriate. And in fact it ties in well with the launch of a new service called Turo which was announced in AM-online today. Because the gist of the FT article is that young urban dwellers are just not into car ownership any more, and consequently car sales are going to fall off a cliff over the next few years. Well Turo claims to have launched the “Airbnb of cars”. They claim that the average car spends just 9 hours a week being driven, sitting idle for the remaining 159. And if we could only rent the thing out for a fair proportion of those we could earn, on average, £6000 a year. And I am guessing, we could take another seven or eight cars off the road. They claim to have sorted out insurance issues and the technology platform, which is good news for car owners, consumers and the green lobby, but not great for car manufacturers. I suspect that many of us looked sceptically at Uber, Airbnb and even Amazon when they launched. Who knows how Turo will do, because we take the others very seriously now.
Their final headline highlights the new chairman of Tesla. The person who will finally rein  in their headstrong chief executive, Elon Musk. It has to be said that many are sceptical that Robyn Denholm will have the necessary toughness and authority to control her charge. Others, however, say that she has managed it successfully elsewhere, especially in the telecoms industry from where she originates. You have to say that the company needs it, and in fact the appointment of the chairman was at the insistence of the US authorities after recent controversies over their share price and production figures. But whatever the outcome, Tesla is here to stay, like many of the other new big players on the world stage.
Have a great weekend, at least you won’t be woken by fireworks this week.
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 aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.
Doug Larson
Anybody can win unless there happens to be a second entry.
George Ade (1866 – 1944)
The older I grow, the less important the comma becomes. Let the reader catch his own breath.
Elizabeth Clarkson Zwart
You know that children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers.
John J. Plomp
THIS WEEK

One of the biggest challenges facing dealers today is WLTP. But if you read AM-online this week, that will pale into insignificance compared to Brexit. Some, like Robert Forrester, CEO of Vertu, are quite sanguine about the problems – “The sun will still come up the next morning” and liken it to the hysteria surrounding the millennium bug. Others, on the other hand, are fearful of a no deal scenario, they reckon it will add 10-15% to the cost of a car and put thousands of suppliers out of business. The bad news is that the government only has a few months to sort it out, the good news is that we only have a few months to find out what’s going to happen.
And we only have a couple of months left in 2018. Which I am certain will come as a relief to a few people, not least Pendragon. Their report on Q3 was as downbeat as anything else this year, as revenues slipped a further 7.2%. Blaming most of it on WLTP, Trevor Finn nevertheless predicts that the rest of the year is going to remain challenging. He was encouraged, however, by used-car performance. And talking around the industry, it is clear that the lack of new car supply has forced a spike in demand for used, especially in fashionable franchises. However, this still makes used-car trading difficult, as you rarely outperform the market in terms of margin, unless you have the guts foresight to buy forward and stockpile used cars. And anyone in this business will tell you that is a very risky strategy. Predicting full-year 2018 profits of around £50 million, 2019 looks like it will be a crunch year for the group. Their move away from premium franchises means that a reliance on used cars will exaggerate any miscalculations in that sector.
If a continuing decline in the UK retail market was predictable, I bet many of you wished you had bought Tesla shares at the beginning of the week. Reporting their first quarterly profit in car manufacturing since they began, a healthy $377 million, meant their shares shot up by 11%. So I predict that Elon Musk, now chairman and no longer CEO, is not missing that extra bit of salary too much. And he is hopefully looking forward to continued growth for the rest of this year and into next. No WLTP considerations for electric vehicles.
Have a great weekend, winter is coming.
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 more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.
Arthur Koestler (1905 – 1983)
An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
Jef Mallett, Frazz, 04-04-07
No one has ever had an idea in a dress suit.
Sir Frederick G. Banting (1891 – 1941)
Making duplicate copies and computer printouts of things no one wanted even one of in the first place is giving America a new sense of purpose.
Andy Rooney (1919 – )
THIS WEEK

There are all sorts of indicators that reflect the rise or fall in demand for vehicles. But as Michelin suffered its worst drop in its share price for seven years today, it might be time to reflect whether the car tyre market is one of those indicators. Obviously the sale of tyres that does not necessarily reflect the sale of vehicles, though logically the more cars there are on the road, the more tyres there are to sell. But you could still sell the same number of cars and have car usage fall. Or speed limits be applied more strictly so people didn’t drive like maniacs and wear their tyres out. So the relationship is complicated, but it is probably indicative of a problem in the motor industry in general.

This was borne out by highly respected industry analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, who was quoted in the FT today as saying that “80% of suppliers are likely to reduce their full-year 2018 guidance”. What does that mean exactly? Well probably most of them are not going to adjust their forecasts upwards, and he did say elsewhere that he expects to be this reporting season to be the ugliest ever. Certainly problems towards the end of this year with vehicle manufacturing, WLTP compliance and consumer demand have all combined.

Europe has had an energy problem for some time, being highly reliant upon places like Russia for its supplies of gas and for others for its supplies of fuel. So the EU has looked at our future power requirements, and decided to, as the headline says, jump-start its battery electric battery sector. With the emergence of the electric car an inevitable part of future transportation, it is obvious that we need something to power them. And batteries are the new power units. So Europe (and we have to presume presume the UK post Brexit) is looking at ways of promoting battery production.

They are sinking substantial funds and resources into the project partly because 80% of the current world’s production is in Asia. Compare China’s 69% market share with Europe’s 4%. Something needs doing and hopefully we will start to catch up. Though we had better be quick, our Asian rivals are already building plants in Europe to produce over here. European battery production may be a lost opportunity.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the weather. 

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 

If you can’t say anything good about someone, sit right here by me.
Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884 – 1980)

The covers of this book are too far apart.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914), The Devil’s Dictionary

Character is what you have left when you’ve lost everything you can lose.
Evan Esar (1899 – 1995)

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626), “Of Beauty”

THIS WEEK

Two stories today demonstrate the uncertain nature of our industry. In particular the changing fortune of what are massive investments in this industry of ours. First of all the announcement that Elon Musk is to be sued by the SEC in the US for alleged securities fraud. This relates to his announcement that he was taking Tesla Private a few weeks ago which took everyone, including the New York Stock Exchange by surprise. On the back of it Tesla shares have taken quite a substantial hit yesterday and today.
It is difficult to know how this one will play out, because the company’s future looks uncertain at best with their acknowledged difficulties in hitting ambitious production targets with the new products. It is fascinating to watch this from the outside, because for so many years, with initiatives in green fuels, in electric cars, in space exploration and in the Hyper Loop technology (you remember the train that can travel at ridiculous speeds) he has been the darling of the press and of technology commentators everywhere.
While that is a story that everyone is sure to have seen this week,  a very different one comes in the form of a report in the FT. It is relates to industries that Argentina leads the world in. One is in retreat and one very much in the ascendancy. 10 years ago Argentina invested in what was the technology of the future, bio diesel. A decade later it is a technology that is either ignored or discredited, but certainly one that has created an awful lot of disruption and missed investment opportunities.
But Argentina is also a leading supplier of lithium. It does not take a genius to understand that whatever the country is losing in terms of biofuels, it is gaining in terms of lithium production. And I bet we all wish we had shares in it now.
As the last day of September approaches I do not think there are many dealers holding their breath on the outcome of the month. Plenty I have spoken to think they will come up well short, but miraculously many cars will be registered on the last day of the month. So it looks like there will be plenty of supply of demonstrators for the rest of the year. For those brands that have sorted out cars that comply with the new regulations, that is. It really isn’t a good time for the UK car industry, with production levels falling and Jaguar going on to a three-day week. Until we sort this Brexit mess out one way or another it is difficult to see how much optimism will return.
Have a great weekend, may your September prove to be a rewarding one.
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

Everyone’s a hero in their own way, in their own not that heroic way.
Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, 2008
When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth.
George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)
Hell, there are no rules here– we’re trying to accomplish something.
Thomas A. Edison (1847 – 1931)
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
THIS WEEK

Just lots going on this week. Plenty of it relating to the future, some of it to the past. No greater hark back to the past than the announcement that Jaguar have moved on to a three-day working week. That takes us back to about 1974 from memory. Falling sales, concern over Brexit, WLTP, you name it it seems a perfect storm for JLR, a manufacturer that could do no wrong until about three years ago. Are they having real problems, or, as the more cynical might think, is this a way of softening up the British workforce? If they have to make cuts in future, or set up manufacturing elsewhere they can say it was already not working in UK.
The EU is obviously in the news a lot this week, especially with regards to our future trading agreements with them. On the flipside, we forget just how much power both the EU and large companies have in Europe. And an investigation was launched earlier in the week into a cartel that was allegedly created by Germany’s manufacturers BMW, Daimler and VW. The story has already been covered elsewhere, but we are now beyond rumours of a cartel and into an investigation.
And just as Europe sets to over here, the US has announced an investigation into a leader of new technology in the US. Elon Musk’s recent pronouncements about taking Tesla private again fell foul, apparently, of stock market rules. They could be viewed as manipulating the market, and as such he will have to answer some serious questions in front of the US Justice Department. All this just as Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has thrown a substantial investment into Lucid Motors, Tesla’s big rival in the US. The company was rumoured to be desperately seeking investment, this would seem to solve their needs for now.
Have a great weekend, welcome to autumn.
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 most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881)
It is possible to be below flattery as well as above it.
Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800 – 1859)
A specification that will not fit on one page of 8.5×11 inch paper cannot be understood.
Mark Ardis
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.
Chuck Reid
THIS WEEK

It has to be said that everybody is confused about Brexit nowadays. In fact I was watching the BBC news yesterday morning and the presenter announced that they would be speaking to the “Breakfast Secretary on BBC Brexit”. So we have no chance of knowing whether we going to get a deal, if we can’t tell the difference between Brexit and Breakfast.
But it is certainly exercising some minds out there, and there has been a warning today that the introduction of electric cars in the UK could well be stalled if we leave Brexit. Why, because manufacturers have EU emissions targets to meet, and apparently because of some arcane, obscure regulation if we leave the EU, then cars sold here will no longer count towards their targets.
And indeed Dyson this week announced that because of the confusion over our status they would be holding back on investment on their electric vehicles, or rather not deciding exactly where to site their production plant. And very unusually, one of the senior directors in our industry tweeted this week about his concern. Daksh Gupta made it absolutely clear that he was not making a political point, he was merely concerned that the position we have got ourselves into means that planning for next year and the years beyond for the 800,000 or so workers in the motor industry was proving night on impossible. As we struggle through a September that is proving to be a challenge, we don’t want the next five years to be as tough as this.
Have a great weekend, the weather will be better here than it is in the States.
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

Nothing fails like success.
Gerald Nachman
When we got into office, the thing that surprised me the most was that things were as bad as we’d been saying they were.
John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963)
Some people will never learn anything because they understand everything too soon.
Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744)
The nice thing about egotists is that they don’t talk about other people.
Lucille S. Harper
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