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

Our cover story considers the transition to EVs as 2030 - the government’s deadline for banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars - fast approaches. Our political masters have put in place £2.8 billion in incentives to get more EVs on our roads, driven significantly by consumer demand too. But what role for finance? Our feature, Motor finance that doesn’t cost the earth, explores some of the issues. 

Malcolm Le May, the CEO of Provident Financial Group, a specialist bank focused on underserved markets, including motor finance credit, is concerned that for the 14 million UK adults who can’t access mainstream credit the prospects for 'driving green' remain limited. His comment piece, The numbers behind the Green Revolution just don’t stack up, offers food for thought. 

Meanwhile, Zoe Maitland, head of corporate social responsibility at Arval UK, says corporate strategy is key to spelling out and communicating how companies plan to make a difference when it comes to sustainability. 

Completing this journal’s sustainability coverage is a piece of GlobalData analysis looking at the emission reduction targets of 1,138 global automotive companies, see How ambitious are the emissions targets of the automobile industry? The data offers an insight into which companies are leading the way and which are lagging on their commitments.

Alejandro Gonzalez, interim 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