Welcome to our quarterly e-magazine for motor finance professionals in the UK, and occasionally beyond.

As finance providers transition to the digital world more deeply and in greater numbers, new and growing security concerns have come to the surface requiring vigilance. We talk to Kevin Phillips at ieDigital, a software developer and provider of financial services technology, about Cyber defences in the age of digital car finance.

On the topic of regulation, the FCA has set the clock ticking on outcomes aimed at improving key elements of the firm-customer relationship affecting all those who offer financial services. We offer a breakdown of the rules and guidance on achieving these outcomes. See Call of Duty: Clock ticking on new culture and data expectations.

With petrol prices hitting historic highs, a silver lining might be the price signal this sends to those considering a leap into EV financing, but the cost-saving from switching to driving green will depend significantly on a great unknown: how well private and government entities coordinate the rollout of EV (rapid) charging infrastructure across the UK. See EV refuelling costs make a difference but charging infrastructure will need to keep up.

Mike Todd, the chief executive of Volkswagen Financial Services UK, writes that used EVs may hold the key to mainstream adoption of electric vehicles, See Unlocking the used EV market requires financing.

Chloe Glynn for GlobalData considers the benefits of EVs with easily swappable batteries, see Could battery swapping replace EV charging?

Another GlobalData analyst Josep Bori considers the various legal obstacles that will need to be overcome if autonomous vehicles are to become the ‘next big thing’, see Insurers in pursuit of autonomous vehicle answers.

Hope this edition offers some food for thought.

Alejandro Gonzalez, editor

Welcome to the first Motor Finance digital edition of 2021.

Roughly a year ago, reports of a deadly virus in the Wuhan district of China began gaining real traction in the global press. Videos of overran hospitals and deserted streets flooded social media, but for most people (myself included), the virus still seemed like a distant problem in a distant land.

Fast forward a few weeks and most of the world’s population found itself in various forms of lockdown. Governments scrambled to alleviate the immense stress on health services, while industry screeched to a halt.

Automotive was one of the most adversely affected sectors, as factories and dealerships were forced to close their doors and shut down production. Government schemes and support packages were rolled out across the world to support struggling businesses, with some countries launching automotive-specific rescue packages worth billions of pounds.

The summer months brought a welcome fall in Covid-19 cases and a relaxation of lockdown measures, however hopes of a V-shaped recovery were soon dashed by the emergence of a second wave of the virus. Recovery remains fractured and unpredictable, but with vaccines being rolled out at a rapid rate, there is now real hope that we are approaching the end of this very dark tunnel.

In this edition we look back at how various automotive industries around the world reacted to the outbreak, and question what lasting impact Covid-19 will have on consumer behaviour and business processes.

Chris Lemmon, editor