The 2014 Geneva Motor Show – Part 1

BMW LogoThe Geneva Motor Show is one of the most important events of the year for anyone involved in the motor trade industry, as not only do some of the biggest manufacturers in the world debut their new vehicles, but there is also an array of information concerning upcoming changes in the motor trade industry. This year has been no exception, and even though the show only began yesterday we have already heard some exciting news.

First is the much anticipated arrival of the new Audi TT, which has already proved extremely popular with car enthusiasts. Writing for The Telegraph, professional racing driver and journalist Rebecca Jackson, said: “With sharper styling and a lighter platform, it’s hard to see how this is going to do anything other than fly out of showrooms. Perhaps the neatest feature is the Audi Virtual Cockpit, which ditches the old analogue dials in place of a TFT screen that can display the satnav.” Rebecca was also impressed by some of the higher end vehicles, including the Lamborghini Huracan, which has a V10 engine, 610bhp and a top speed of 202mph.

BMW has also been in the news over the past couple of days, however it has been more due to the company’s incredible resilience to the recession rather than their impressive new models. Speaking to the BBC, sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson said that the reason why the company is doing so well at the moment is because they went out of their way to protect themselves from the effects of the recession. He said that just before the recession hit six years ago he was in a car on the way to Paris with BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer, and was: “Looking at my Blackberry at the latest car sales figures. It was, ‘Minus 22, minus 35, minus 32’. We had a chat in the back of that car, and over the next month took a number of very clear decisions.

“We didn’t know just how bad the industry’s recession was going to be, but we ended 2008 with a clear inventory – unlike most of our competitors who had tons of inventory going forward and didn’t react. We protected our cash balance. In 2009 we were able to focus on lots of new products, while a lot of companies were just thinking, how do we survive? One thing that we were very clear about during the difficult years – and it will be the case this year and beyond – was that we were going to continue our model offensive.”

BMW are displaying a number of new models at the Geneva Motor Show this year, including the new BMW 4 series Gran Coupe, which is the first front-wheel BMW, as well as a new Mini and the Rolls-Royce Ghost series II. However, Mr Robertson still believes that car companies will need to adapt in the future in order to remain successful. He said: “The whole future of retail is probably going to change in the next five years faster than it has done in the last 100 years, because our expectations are all different.

“Probably 80%-85% of our customers do all their research in the digital world before they come through the showroom doors. We have redesigned our digital platform but as a consequence the whole environment in the dealer process has to change too. We are redesigning the whole process of how a car is acquired. Car manufacturing in the UK is approaching levels which have not been seen since the 1960s – and is probably set to exceed previous highs. The UK’s structure of industrial success was lost. It’s changing. But people must remember that this race is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

The Geneva Motor Show will continue for another nine days until 16th March, and we are sure that during this time there will be even more news from some of the key players in the motor trade industry. We expect that a number will agree with Mr Robertson’s opinion that the motor trade industry will change soon, meaning that businesses such as car dealers, mechanics, motor trade insurance providers and valets may all soon have to adapt their business strategies.

Make sure you visit the QuoteSearcher blog next week for further updates on the 2014 Geneva Motor Show!

Photo by kaoticsnow / CC BY-SA 2.0