W M S Group

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by W M S Group's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from W M S Group is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director
The UK’s favourite warranty
Based in Oxford, WMS Group is a leading business-to-
business car warranty supplier. It was founded by three
Fellows of the Institute of the Motor Industry in 2003
and provides extended warranty cover and other motoring
protection to over 3,500 dealerships across the UK. Managing
Director John Colinswood explains that WMS is passionate
about helping its partners to provide the best warranty products
and aftersales support to their customers.
The motor industry has seen and will continue to see changes in vehicles, with
customer buying habits, the use of digital channels and the import and export of
vehicles and components all in a state of flux. With the ongoing uncertainty that
surrounds the UK’s relationship with the EU, it is a particularly difficult time for
manufacturers to make decisions as to whether they will stay in the UK with their
operations or move, or even manufacturer some of their models outside of the UK.
In 2017, the UK automotive manufacturing industry turned over £82 billion. Just
over 2.5 million new cars and 8.1 million used cars were sold. In 2018, new car
sales had dropped to just over 2.3 million, while the supply of new car sales was
affected by the WLTP testing on emissions.
Adjusting to changing consumer habits
People will always buy cars, but what does buy actually mean? Is it usership or
ownership? There are more ways than ever to get into your new or pre-loved car.
Let’s take a typical British household over the last few years, which has bought
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 2003
»Based in Oxford
»Services: Used vehicle
warranty administration
»No. of employees: 110
WMS Group
Highlighting best practice
cars on a personal contract hire basis,
giving them a higher-specification
model than they first expected, as
the payments on a personal contract
purchase were some £40 to £50 per
month more expensive. Given that
they intended to keep the car for the
same term as they would on a PCP, it
seemed a no brainer.
Going back some 30 years, when I
joined the motor trade, the customer’s
buying habit or journey was so
different from how it looks today.
Let us take an example: there were
nearly four or five competitor Ford
dealerships within a 40-minute drive
from your dealership, and you knew,
especially for new cars, that it was a
pricing game. Customers would drive
around all the dealerships for the
best deal, and a lot of the time the
customer’s decision to buy came down
to the people in the dealership and
the fantastic experience the customer
was given. The internet only became
mainstream in the late 1990s and early
2000s, hence there wasn’t the option
to do much research on the car; their
research started in the dealership with
a glossy book, a cup of coffee and a
chat with the sales executive.
Over the past, say, 15 years, the
customer has been in charge of the car
purchases. They have researched the
vehicles on the internet and know the
make, model, specification, engine size
and miles per gallon. When they reach
the dealership, they are ready and
armed with knowledge and are there
to negotiate a deal. It’s fair to say that
buying habits have changed, and I’m
confident they will change again with
connectivity, apps and the accessibility
of information.
Customers tend to base their
purchases on the benefits on offer.
In the world of insurance, there was
a lot of negativity around mis-sold
payment protection plans – some were
mis-sold, some weren’t – but what is
important is that the customer feels
protected with their purchase. The
FCA has monitored and will continue
to monitor insurance products, and
rightly so. No one wants to buy
Customers know what
they want
tend to base
purchases on
the benefits
on offer
something that isn’t fit for purpose,
won’t do what it suggests it will do
or has no purpose. Customers buy
products in good faith, and protection
is no different. People buy protection
so that in the event of something
going wrong, they are covered – just
like car insurance or house insurance;
people just want peace of mind.
Are added-value protection
products worth the money?
I guess it’s difficult to put a cost
on protection; what’s considered
expensive to one person may be
inexpensive to another – but the
goal is to be protected as per the
product’s terms and conditions. We
often ask what the cost of peace of
mind is, and it’s a difficult question
to answer – but if you assess the risk
of something going wrong versus the
cost of repair, and if you really see
the value and benefits, then it comes
down to affordability. Not many of
us put money aside every month for
that unexpected repair, because if
something does happen we expect
the product we purchased to pay for
it. As added-value product providers
we must ensure our dealer partners
are treating customers fairly, and we
will advise on recommended retail
prices to ensure they are typical of the
marketplace and that across insured
products every customer pays the same
for the same product and respective
cover level.
With technology progressing at a swift
rate, the future is difficult to predict.
At the end of March 2019, like-for-
like sales on alternative fuel vehicles
(AFVs) were up 14.7 per cent, which
gives an indication of the change
in technology, the buyer’s concerns
about emissions and the range of AFVs
that are now on our roads. At WMS
we are futureproofing our business, to
ensure we have the right products and
cover levels available for our dealers for
every vehicle that is being produced.
We will continue to develop and be
innovative with regards to the added-
value products that customers want,
will benefit from and that offer value
for money. Our customers love WMS
as well as our dealer partners, and our
awards over the years are testament
to a fantastic team of people, and a
company that is customer centric in
everything we do.
We will
continue to
develop and
be innovative
with regards
to the added-
value products
that customers
want, will
benefit from
and that offer
value for
Our awards are our


This article was sponsored by W M S Group. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster