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Riding the auto industry’s wave of change

Advertisement feature from Car Care Plan

The car buying landscape is constantly changing – even more so in recent years. Battery electric and hybrid vehicles are rapidly growing in popularity. More consumers are looking for subscription-style spending options as opposed to a single, one-off payment. There has also been a move from the traditional franchised arrangement to an agency model for many dealers. And digital is playing an ever-more important role in the sales process.

With this evolving marketplace, retailers need a financial aftercare partner that is keeping pace with the times, updating products to meet customers’ needs and developing new opportunities to capitalise on trends and give drivers the protection and support they are looking for with their new or used car. That is why award-winning financial aftercare provider Car Care Plan has a pipeline of new products and services being rolled out in 2023/24 – building on significant developments from last year.

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“Our fantastic team are constantly reacting to what customers want and the products they need as part of the vehicle ownership cycle,” said Simon Cook, who joined Car Care Plan as Sales Director at the end of 2022. “Car buyers are thinking about the ownership cycle as a whole – whether they’re buying new or used – and considering all the costs from running the vehicle to the cost of servicing and repairs. Customers are much more aware of the importance of maintaining the value of their vehicle and are looking at products that can help them.”

Car Care Plan’s core product is warranty, but itstheir wider portfolio of GAP, MOT test cover, roadside assistance, tyre and alloy insurance, cosmetic repair insurance, and service plans continue to gain traction. Indeed, it was cosmetic insurance that saw the largest growth between 2021-22, rising 23%, showing customers are increasingly conscious of not only their vehicles’ appearance but also the importance of fixing minor damage to protect their investment – vital when it comes to trading in for the next model.

In 2022, Car Care Plan saw an overall growth in sales of 7%, registering more than 1.5 million products, and paying out £131m in claims. The company’s aim is to consolidate last year’s stellar performance but that definitely does not mean resting on itstheir laurels. Even Car Care Plan’s central pillar, warranty, which it has been providing for over 45 years, was recently given a fundamental upgrade.

In addition to the extensive warranty cover available for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, Car Care Plan has added a specific section into their standard warranty wording that ensures protection for hybrid and EV components – wording that received the Plain English Society’s internationally recognised Crystal Mark for clarity to consumers. It even covers one of the biggest concerns customers have when purchasing an EV – range anxiety.

Simon said: “Our retail partners now have a warranty that covers all that needs to be covered in an EV. We were the first warranty company to do this and it has been very well received.”

feb car reg blog - Aligra.co.uk

Continuing to build on their provision for the expanding EV marketplace, Car Care Plan has also launched itstheir EV Drivers Cllub. This includes an annual vehicle check that covers items not included in a regular service, as well as EV Drivers Club Assist, Zoom EV membership, SmartFob and Keycare, Zap Map Plus, bonnet charging app discounts, and Dent Wizard Ventures discounts.

Also in 2022, Car Care Plan launched their combined warranty, breakdown cover and service plan product, which provides wholistic maintenance support for one monthly payment over a 12-month period. Product package plans and monthly payments is an area the company is looking to expand going forward, as consumer spending habits continue to shift in this direction. In addition to meeting customer expectations, the package plans are also beneficial for retailers, who can grow their revenue per sale as well as boost their satisfaction and retention rates.

Another example is Club SmartGuard, Car Care Plan’s latest new car service. This offers customers biannual vehicle assessments, specialist cosmetic repair, alloy wheel insurance, and discounted dealer rates. There are also ongoing developments in its digital applications to further improve accessibility for customers, retailers, and OEMs, giving them an alternative route to both purchase products and make claims.

Simon added: “Everything we do is about taking the hassle of car ownership away from the customer. We are making sure we have the right products for the right customers at the right time and, to that end, there’s a considerable amount of product development in the pipeline for this year and into 2024.”

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