Welcome to our quarterly e-magazine for motor finance professionals.

Our main feature looks at how the retail network of auto dealerships survived Covid both here in the UK and the US. This was a time when traditional brick-and-mortar players saw their operations fall out of favour as digital-only propositions gained ground.

What a difference a couple of years makes. Today, many traditional car dealerships are living proof that rumours of their passing have been greatly exaggerated. Indeed, many of these dealerships used the pandemic downtime to raise their digital game. At the same time, digital-only auto providers found that their acquisition-led strategies and grow-quick funding arrangements during Covid have come unstuck - just as shoppers have shown a distinct preference for dealerships that can offer the human touch wrapped in a digital offering coming out of 2022.

Another feature of ours looks at a report by Transport & Environment, a European clean transport campaign group, that claims leasing deals for BEVs are overpriced. The authors of the report say they have analysed 2.7 million used car prices in Europe’s biggest markets, including the UK, and found that the residual values arrived at by leasing companies are not aligned with the market.  

T&E say this pricing strategy has created a "misalignment" between the high monthly rates charged for BEVs and their actual depreciation in the used car market. Many of you may be interested to know what the BVRLA and Auto Trader make of these claims.  

These are just two of our stories!

Best regards,
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