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Coronavirus has accelerated motor industry digitisation, VRA members told

Date: 03 July 2020   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The coronavirus crisis has pushed digitisation of the motor industry forward by "probably five years", it has been said.

Mike Jones, chairman of software firm ASE Global, made the claim at a Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) members meeting, which followed the organisation's AGM.

Jones said that all key elements of the digitisation of the sector had been accelerated during the last few months.

He said: "Whichever aspect you examine, from retail to delivery, there has been a marked shift online. 

"Probably the only major trend that has suffered is mobility services, because of the need to share assets such as through car and ride sharing. Everything else has advanced."

Jones said that the industry was now seeing "genuine omni-channel retailing", and added: "Arguably, we have even become a digital-first sector in a very short period of time."

Other speakers at the meeting, which took place online, included Dr Justin Varney, director of public health at Birmingham City Council, who said the motor industry had to do its bit alongside the rest of society in helping to contain coronavirus through social distancing measures and hand washing.

He said: "Certainly, employers in the motor industry have their part to play and I would urge everyone to make sure that they are following the latest advice and ensuring that a high degree of compliance is maintained. Everyone has a part to play in controlling infection."

During the VRA AGM itself, chair Sam Watkins reported that the organisation had enjoyed a successful year.

She said: "Membership has grown by 15% in the last year and we held our biggest-ever event, the VRA Seminar, which was attended by 180 people last November. 

"Also, since the start of the coronavirus crisis, a series of webinars have been held, of which this was the fifth, to keep members abreast of the latest developments in the crisis. We have also been active in starting new initiatives and raising emerging subjects for widespread industry discussion.

"The VRA is, we believe, serving a very important purpose as a voice of the remarketing sector while also providing members with crucial and timely support and information."