Photograph of Fred CrawleyJanuary – the month when post-Christmas work backlogs are
laid into, new projects spring up in abundance, and to-do lists
stretch as long as the nights.

Those of you with an interest in the
classics (having watched 300 or Clash of the
counts) will know that January is named after Janus,
the Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Statues of two-faced
Janus would often be placed at doorways, with one face looking
inward, and one looking out.

In typical highbrow style we shall be
doing the same this month, with one feature looking at the
performance of the major brands in 2011 and a second that gathers
predictions from across the industry as to how various trends will
proceed into 2012.

One issue under the lens is how
finance companies will react to the hard choices made by car-making
giants as they flex and turn following the market contraction of

One such colossus is Renault, which
explains this month how its UK restructure is not simply a case of
reacting to a sales shortfall, but a strategy aimed at getting
ahead of the market.

Picture of a Roman coin depicting the two-headed deity JanusWe
also ask our panel of forecasters to consider how much pressure
they expect from direct loan providers, something we analyse in
this issue with a rundown of the potential price war in loan

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Conspicuous by its absence from our
2012 forecast is regulation, though this will be addressed in a
second, dedicated round of predictions in the February issue.

This month is not without regulatory
content, though, as January has seen the Financial Ombudsman
Service propose a shift in how it charges for case fees – something
that has drawn immediate reaction from the car finance sector.

It’s worth noting the change in the
content of such a story from original online publication through to

When the news broke on, the thrust of the story was the proposal
itself and came with Richard Brown’s potted history of the rise of
mis-selling claims.

With time available before going to
press to gather responses from the industry and the ombudsman, so
the story changed to reflect how those proposals may move

Casting aside the outdated is more
than a point of pride in this industry – it is becoming necessary
for survival. For example, look at innovations in products, the
constant adaptation of finance companies to a relentlessly tough
market, and the adoption of new technology.

One issue more than overdue for
overhaul is the role of women in the automotive sector.

Rightly, not one of us would register
surprise upon meeting a broker, lender or consultant that happened
to be a woman. Why then are so many other levels in the world of
motor retail dominated by men? The question becomes increasingly
important when you consider the influence women hold over car

Don’t forget that while the print
edition of Motor Finance is dedicated to in-depth analysis
and expert commentary on the issues of the moment, it is supported
by a rolling stream of news published daily on

And all this information is now
available through our LinkedIn group
( or Twitter feed

So whether you’re reading this issue
of Motor Finance through a screen or by thumbing through
good old printed pages, get online and let us know what you think.
What were the biggest stories of 2011? Were there any we missed?
What will the land of 2012 will look like? Do advertised personal
loan rates present a credible threat? What about the ombudsman’s

I could go on, but I’d rather hear
what you’ve got to say – over to you!

Fred Crawley