Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Car industry should speed up

Cayenne: an SUV that behaves like a good sports car

It's a Friday night; you have endured a busy week in the office and are looking forward to the weekend, which enables you to do the things your work’s diary doesn’t permit Monday to Friday.

Relishing the opportunity of not having to get up at 6am when the alarm normally goes off, you decide today you are going to go shopping for a new car.

You have had your eye on a new estate for the golf clubs; maybe the fact that we have actually had a summer has whetted your appetite for a convertible sports car or perhaps you are contemplating an appropriate low insurance group car for a son or daughter who has just passed their driving test.

Nice in theory, until you drive to the various car showrooms and discover that many close early on a Saturday!

So you have a need for a new car, money burning a hole in your pocket but nowhere to spend it.

We are in the midst of a recession — and one we don’t seem to be emerging from anytime soon judging by the latest GDP figures — yet on the one day of the week when the majority of people are free to visit such retailers they offer reduced hours.

And it’s all the more incomprehensible when the car industry is on its knees because of the economic downturn.

There are miles and miles of unsold cars sitting in old airfields, the Government has been begged by the car industry for assistance/bailouts, a UK car scrappage scheme has even been rolled out since May and thousands of jobs have been lost.

The strong euro versus the pound and the lower UK VAT rate are also proving attractive for consumers from the Republic.

Would it therefore not make good sense for car showrooms to open all day on a Saturday to take advantage of, facilitate and encourage more people to drive away in a new car?

It’s maybe time the car industry stepped up a gear.

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