Market down, price of fuel up and job opportunities

Joseph Bulmer

July new car and commercial markets were down, largely as the shortage of semi-conductors takes effect.

However, it was the worst July since 1998 and the biggest fall was in the large fleet market.

Many manufacturers are either holding back by reducing discounts or are unable to meet the demand for electric cars.

Significantly, in July battery electric-powered cars outsold diesels, and electric-powered cars including plug-ins, are outselling diesels year to date.

The SMMT have reduced the total market forecast for 2021 and have acknowledged the semi-conductor shortage is with us for at least the rest of the year.

Van sales also fell in July against last year but this is totally down to the semi-conductor shortages which will also affect supply throughout the rest of 2021.

Fuel prices have continued to rise and are now at their highest level for eight years.

Many motorists have been less aware as a result of fewer journeys during lockdowns.

Petrol stations are now in demand from investors, as operators seek to tie up with supermarket convenience stores to provide an incentive for people to stop for a coffee and a meal.

The concern in the longer term is the move to electric vehicles which could make up to 80 per cent of the fuel retail network unprofitable by 2035.

Like many retail outlets, the motor business has been affected by the number of staff forced to self-isolate and are looking forward to the changes starting next week, but shortages have been compounded by Europeans returning home after Brexit.

The lack of apprenticeships taken on during the pandemic has also caused shortages of IT personnel and technicians, in particular, so if there are people looking for a career in the motor business this could a good time to apply.

Also, if technicians and IT employees wish to relocate to Devon and Cornwall, motor dealers would be delighted to hear from them as there are many opportunities at this time and much confidence about the long-term future.

We would like to see more females entering the industry in all departments including sales, service, accident repair, marketing, accounts, HR, and customer contact centres.

In many dealerships there are already successful females who, after all, represent the majority of private car buyers in the UK and are excellent managers and board members.

The pandemic has made many employers realise more flexibility is required and as well as alternative working hours, working from home will remain with us in the future.

There are some interesting and exciting job opportunities available so why not contact your local dealership and find out more.

Accepting this virus is with us for the foreseeable future, we will continue to take care and look after our employees and customers.

There has been a welcome response to continuing with safety practices in most businesses and new cases are likely to continue until as many of the population are fully vaccinated as is possible.

In the meantime, keep safe and keep smiling. I look forward to next week.