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.

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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
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