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Cost control will be a major focus for UK auto dealers in 2018, as falling sales lead to increased competition for buyers and tighter margins.

The car industry is cyclical by nature, but according to MotoNovo Finance Group chief executive officer Mark Standish, the latest decline could have more impact because the positive cycle lasted longer than usual.

Even small drop-offs in consumer traffic could hit dealers very quickly, Standish believes, and he expects many dealers will already be reassessing their market approaches with cost control as a key factor.

He said: “It has been a long time since the ‘every penny’ line was trotted out, but all the signals are that we face a far tougher market in 2018. I am sure bottom-line pressure for dealers will quickly filter into the supply chain.”

Standish argues that the environment suits the imminent launch of MotoNovo’s non-profit sales aggregator site, findandfundmycar.com, a disruptive new service set to be launched during January.

Last year, the site received the support of the Independent Motor Dealers Association (IMDA).