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

This edition has a dual focus on business ethics and the cost-of-living crisis. 

Jonathan Beadle, commercial manager at Van Ninja, got in touch to say that a jump in demand for vans on finance in 2022 was accompanied by some unsavoury practices in the sector and he had a few things to say about that, read his comment entitled, Expect ethical practices from van leasing companies.
Next, James Marquette, head of data relationships for Total Car Check, a provider of vehicle history checks, approached us after Channel 4’s Dispatches: Why Is My Car So Expensive? went to air in mid-August. The TV producers found that two vehicle retailers had unknowingly put up for sale a written-off vehicle, despite claiming to have undertaken rigorous checks. Read Marquette’s reflections on the problems the sector has with conducting vehicle provenance checks. See ‘Dispatches’ is a wake-up call on improving provenance checks.

Lastly, our article Vulnerable customers need protection, not persecution, is by Glenn Matthews, head of operations at Close Brothers Motor Finance, who feels the financial services industry still has work to do to improve outcomes for vulnerable customers.

Other articles cover Motor finance and the cost-of-living crisis and, separately, the Cost of charging EVs and Will EV vans take off? We also look at the decision by Ford and VW to shut down their joint autonomous vehicle venture and we ask: what next?

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