Ford begin testing the first “right-hand drive” Ford Mustang ahead of global production.
Perhaps one of the most iconic cars in history, and a personal favourite of mine which I will come to shortly, the production of the first right-hand-drive Ford Mustang is to begin soon. Presently “in testing”, the new format Mustang will allow the car to be exported to more than 25 right-hand-drive markets around the world including the UK.
Ford engineers recently finished construction of the very first right-hand-drive Mustang. The sixth-generation of this vehicle.
Even though the United States is the largest market for Mustangs with more than 9.2 million sales since the car’s debut in 1964, over 161,000 Ford Mustangs have been sold outside of North America in that time.
As a fan, I would love to see more of these iconic cars cruising around the UK roads. Ever since seeing films like K9, and Gone In 60 Seconds, I’ve always had a soft-spot for the classic 1960’s Mustangs!
What are some of the best UK car dealer websites of 2014? As a consumer, who presents their dealership online in a way that would appeal to me? Who’s virtual forecourt is kept the cleanest and easiest to navigate around? Read on as I scour the web to find 16 of the best UK car dealer websites 2014!
With the huge number of car dealers in the UK including approximately 4,900 franchised dealerships, in addition to new start-ups and independent garages, just who has the best virtual forecourts on the web that might appeal to me as a consumer? As more and more customers take to the internet to discover their next car, how a dealer “presents” their stock online is almost as important as the vehicles themselves.
I have selected a range of excellent website designs that boast their own unique strengths, and which also “caught my eye” as a consumer.
It was a tough choice! Especially as the standard of websites across the web is so high. Perhaps in the future I might feature another shortlist of dealers? I have selected 16 websites in no specific order, taking into account:
How easy is the stock to browse?
How easy the website is to navigate?
Is the website “eye pleasing” and enticing?
Is the website up to date?
Please read and maybe think how your own website compares? Does it feature any of the strengths mentioned? Would you like me to take a look at your website to offer you some feedback!? Please get in touch or comment below!
1. Marshall Motor Group – UK Wide
The Marshall Motor Group is a great place to start our 16 of the best uk car dealer websites 2014. The website is a pleasure to navigate with a clean design, and easy to use menu options. Finding your way around is very straightforward! The visitor is presented with simple search facilities and cleanly displayed search results. Cars are represented with images, a wealth of technical and historical information, and “possible alternatives” that might be of interest to the customer.
Busseys, founded back in 1911 are an established independent dealer group based in Norwich and the greater Norfolk area. Their website is bright, colourful, and very eye pleasing. The homepage acts like a gateway, with bright links and calls-to-action to the various Busseys services. New and used car facilities have their own dedicated web pages, to enable to the customer to search without distraction. I particularly like this website design as the green fields and blue skies remind me of the Windows XP startup screen!
3. Benfield Motor Group – NorthEast, NorthWest & Yorkshire
Situated up in the North of the UK, Benfield Motor Group brings decades of success in the motor trade to it’s web presence with an excellent car dealer website. Visitors are presented with very easy to use search facilities, and current stock can be viewed within 1 click! This is an excellent feature as it means customers can begin viewing stock without having to navigate to different sections of the website. Helpful phone numbers, and even “live chat” are readily available to help the visitor pursue their purchase.
The Riverside Motor Group based up in Yorkshire boasts a very attractive looking website. With clear menu options and navigation, glossy tempting offers, and easy to find stock lists with detailed vehicle information.
This website caught my eye above many others. Bob Gerard Ltd is a new and used car dealer in Leicester selling a range of vehicles, with an impressive history spanning over 70 years in the motor trade. The Bob Gerard Ltd website boasts clean graphics, a friendly colour scheme, and easy-to-find functionality. There is also a very nice use of vintage racing cars subtly splashed across the background, to add a further sense of prestige.
Upon searching through used car dealers in Sheffield, Mike Brewer Motors stood out above the rest. A clean looking website with lots of uncluttered space, Mike Brewer Motors is a pleasure to search and offers the potential customers a very easy browsing experience. With nice glossy images of the showroom and stock, sat alongside customer testimonials and nicely separated content, this website was one of my favourites. Big buttons and calls to action, and simple vehicle lists with just the right amount of information. Great job!
Motor City based in Plymouth is highly successful and established name in the motor trade in the South. Their website is geared towards functionality, presenting visitors with easy to use navigation, and comprehensive information and support throughout. When searching through stock, you really get a sense that Motor City knows how to deliver the right vehicles to their customers, offering a range of information, after sales options, and detailed images of each vehicle. This is an example of how to present vehicles “on the web” as well as “on the forecourt”.
Jennings Motor Group is a multi-award winning franchise group based up in the North East, with over a century over success behind them. Their website reflects this success, with a very polished and seamless design that offers visitors an impressive environment to browse stock, and immediately recognise the prestige of this established brand. Vehicle stock is so easy to search and refine, with information about each item displayed cleanly. Overall, one of the best websites I have found!
Sutton Park Group, established in 1991, are franchised dealers situated across the West Midlands. Their website was a pleasure to find with a clean and fresh looking design, and the integration of the pink and blue logo colours are used as subtle navigation aids and calls to action. With stock listings only one “click” away, visitors can instantly view what is on offer.
Smiths Motor Group is a multi-franchise family business, built upon over 70 years of success in the motor trade. Their website brings a more “minimal” look, with lots of eye-pleasing “white space”, and very easy to find navigation and functionality. Visitors are presented with a constant search facility, meaning a refined browse of stock is only a few clicks away.
Reviewing so many used car dealer websites around the web, you quickly learn how to distinguish the best examples. John Banks Group website is one of those examples. Pleasing gentle colours with plenty of “white space” on the pages, and a consistent simple navigation bar across the top. This is great example of an “easy to view” website.
With sites all over East Anglia, Murketts Vauxhall is a family owned group with more than 100 years of experience in delivering quality new and used vehicles. The Murketts website is polished and easy to navigate, allowing visitors to refine their searches. I particularly liked when viewing available vehicle models, you see a little picture of each model. This is great little touch to help customers who may not be familiar with the different vehicle models, pick the right one.
From humble beginnings beside Glasgow airport, Phoenix Car Company has grown into one of central Scotlands largest dealer groups with multiple sites and franchises in Paisley, Glasgow, Grangemouth and Stirling. Their website is rich in media and beautiful layouts, and very easy to explore with stock listings only one click away. Also featured is a very easy-to-use finance calculator, which also acts as a search function where visitors can select the payment options they desire, and are presented with vehicle options that suit their budget! Now agreed, other websites may offer such a facility, but it was the ease of finding and using this facility which appealed to me. A nice touch!
I liked this website! Bridgend Motor Group present themselves on the web with a unique “quirky” stylised website. What do I mean by that exactly? Well. The layout and calls-to-action are simple and bold, with eye-pleasing soft colours, and some very cool historic photos of the business in the early days. Old “grainy” black and white photos are fantastic to look at and admire, and really give visitors a sense of how experienced Bridgend Motor Group are. Scroll down a little, and the visitor is presented with lots of visual queues to explore stock, and find the vehicle they want. Manufacturers logos, different types of vehicle shapes and sizes are all presented for the user to “click on” and find out more. It’s a great feature especially in this age of big screen tablets and smartphones where users scan the website looking for the next button to “press”.
Nathaniel Cars based in South Wales boasts an excellent virtual forecourt. With slick modern dynamic layouts, this site is a joy to scroll through and explore. The key word here is “dynamic”. Did you know that soon, almost 50% of all web traffic will be mobile based? Meaning smartphones, tablets, and netbooks? How a website looks on a smartphone, can be very different to how it looks on a desktop computer screen, and Nathaniel Cars have addressed that situation with a beautiful “scrolling” website that adjusts for mobile visitors, and looks great on mobile devices.
And finally. Now granted that Lings is not a used car dealer and instead specialises in car leasing, in the motor trade there can not be a more extravagant and amazing website as Lings Cars. Following success in the TV show Dragons Den, Ling Valentine now runs a hugely popular vehicle leasing business with a reputation for colourful, and very funny loud marketing. With so much to “look at” on the website including animated chickens and dancing karaoke singers, you can’t help but stare and discover everything that is on offer!
The Government publishes new guidelines regarding changes to the vehicle Tax Disc.
From 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer need to be displayed on a vehicle windscreen. If you have a tax disc with any months left to run after this date, then it can be removed from the vehicle windscreen and destroyed. Customers with a Northern Ireland address will still need to display their MoT disc.
There is a video available (Goodbye to the tax disc) which explains that the tax disc will no longer be issued from 1 October 2014. You can watch the video on our YouTube channel.
You can apply online to tax or SORN your vehicle using your 16 digit reference number from your vehicle tax renewal reminder (V11) or 11 digit reference number from your log book (V5C)
What this means to you
To drive or keep a vehicle on the road you will still need to get vehicle tax and DVLA will still send you a renewal reminder when your vehicle tax is due to expire. This applies to all types of vehicles including those that are exempt from payment of vehicle tax.
Buying a vehicle
From 1 October, when you buy a vehicle, the vehicle tax will no longer be transferred with the vehicle. You will need to get new vehicle tax before you can use the vehicle.
You can tax the vehicle using the New Keeper Supplement (V5C/2) part of the vehicle registration certificate (V5C) online or by using our automated phone service – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Alternatively, you may wish to visit a Post Office® branch.
Selling a vehicle
If you sell a vehicle after 1 October and you have notified DVLA, you will automatically get a refund for any full calendar months left on the vehicle tax.
Vehicle tax refunds
You will no longer need to make a separate application for a refund of vehicle tax. DVLA will automatically issue a refund when a notification is received from the person named on DVLA vehicle register that the:
vehicle has been sold or transferred
vehicle has been scrapped at an Automated Treatment Facility
vehicle has been exported
vehicle has been removed from the road and the person on the vehicle register has made a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
person on the vehicle register has changed the tax class on the vehicle to an exempt duty tax class
Paying vehicle tax by Direct Debit
From 1 October 2014 (5 October if setting up at a Post Office®), Direct Debit will be offered as an additional way to pay for vehicle tax. This will be available for customers who need to tax their vehicle from 1 November 2014:
monthly (12 months tax paid for on a monthly basis)
Provided an MOT remains valid, the payments will continue automatically until you tell DVLA to stop taking them or you cancel the Direct Debit with your bank. Valid insurance should also be in place for vehicles registered in Northern Ireland.
The Direct Debit will be cancelled and payments automatically stopped when you tell DVLA that you no longer have the vehicle, or the vehicle has been taken off the road and a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been made.
When the Direct Debit scheme can’t be used
Paying by Direct Debit will not be available to:
first registration vehicles
HGVs (paying the Road User Levy)
Checking the tax status of a vehicle
You can check the tax status of any vehicle online. This can also be used for rental vehicles.
Used car sales using dealer finance leaped 22% in June 2014 according to the Finance and Leasing Association.
The FLA figures reveal over 850,000 new cars were bought using dealer finance during the first half of the year, and just under 1 million used cars, a year on year rise of 19%.
Dealer finance sales to consumers buying used cars in June increased 22%.
Geraldine Kilkelly, the head of statistics and chief economist at the FLA said, “The first half of 2014 has seen strong performances in both the consumer new and used car finance sectors. The last six months have also seen the FLA’s penetration rate maintained at around three quarters of all private new car sales in the UK which shows how popular point-of-sale credit is with new car buyers.”
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New car registrations for July show another positive climb of 6.6%, the latest SMMT figures published today reveal.
Yes, we are now in the 29th consecutive month of positive climb in new car sales figures everyone. A total of 172,907 cars were registered in July 2014, bringing the total number of cars registered so far this year to a very happy 1,460,172.
Mike Hawes, the SMMT chief executive, said:
“July saw the new car market extend its record period of growth to a 29th month, as confident consumers took advantage of an array of new products and attractive finance deals on the latest fuel-efficient new cars.
The continued positivity has led to an uplift in the SMMT full-year forecast to 2.45 million passenger car registrations, a rise of 8.1 per cent. However, the more moderate growth of the last three months shows that overall demand is beginning to stabilise.”
Faster-than-expected first half-year growth has prompted an revision of the 2014 motor trade market forecast to 2.45 million registrations, up 8.1 per cent on 2013.
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Read, a Hyundai dealer based in Grimsby has moved to new premises, and also added the Suzuki franchise to it’s portfolio.
Moving the Hyundai side of things to a larger showroom at Hewitts Business Park in Humberston, it has also introduced a Suzuki franchise into its original home Railway Street in Grimsby.
Managing director Mike Read informed the Grimsby Telegraph the new premises has a larger showroom with space to display eight Hyundais, double the size of the previous site, and the workshop includes a class-seven MOT ramp for LCVs.
Read said the move to Humberston had been in the pipeline for almost two years, and expansion has created 10 new jobs which is great news for the local job market.
Mike Read created the business in March 2010 when he took over the Phillip Middleton franchise in Railway Street in Grimsby, before opening Read Hyundai here in Lincoln.