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Friday, 3 June 2011

Block exemption effect on property market

Nothing new about block exemption replacement creating uncertainty in all sorts of ways, including the property market. Automotive Management has this story. The trend, not only for block exemption reasons, is towards larger dealers, and it's the bigger dealer groups (not to mention the sponsored dealers) who are financially in a position to benefit from the disruption caused by the block exemption. I certainly recall clients deciding that it was time to retire when a new block exemption came along - back in '95 and '02.

Mike Pearce, of Rapleys, the nationwide commercial property and planning consultants, is quoted in AM on the demand for showroom properties from retailers and fast-fit outlets, which I suppose conveniently (in a way) meshes with dealers moving to ever-more-flamboyant gin palaces on the edge of town. He says that while manufacturers have not been raising the dealer standards bar during the financial crisis, they are changing tack now and the cost of entry to the established and especially premium networks, already high, will increase. On the other hand, he thinks that multifranchising (multibranding as the block exemption has unnecessarily rechristened it) for smaller marques will be the way forward for many smaller dealers as well as for smaller manufacturers and new entrants. What a pity that the Commission has effectively written multifranchising out of the block exemption at this stage - not that it's prohibited, of course, just not a right for dealers.

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