Magazine article Marketing

MMC: Cold Comfort for Car Industry

Magazine article Marketing

MMC: Cold Comfort for Car Industry

Article excerpt

The car industry is relieved by the outcome of the MMC report. But there is little in the affair that is positive for the industry.

The MMC investigation started with a growing public perception that UK car prices are a rip off, and it will end without that perception being weakened. Indeed, as consumer lobbyists continue to shout about "sellouts" some in the industry may even be wondering whether their own lobbying was just a little too effective.

Proposals for changes to the structure of the trade could have some effect. If, that is, the forthcoming election doesn't bury them. But, meanwhile, the industry's underlying problems remain as pressing as ever.

The Japanese, for instance, were targeting the UK before the MMC's wise people started their investigation. If anything, the net result is that the Japanese invasion will be that much quicker and therefore that much more devastating - thanks to Norman Lamont.

But the real problem lies elsewhere. Housing and motors are of the biggest "consumer" markets in the UK. And the parallels between the two are remarkable.

Both of them have risen high-and fallen far-on the back of a Government-inspired credit boom. And the structure of both is way out of line when compared to the rest of Europe, thanks to successive Governments. …

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