The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) announced James Goodwin as its new CEO in September. From our next edition James will contribute a regular article, but we thought you might like to get to know a little about the man and his intentions first.

James joins ANCAP after working at the Australian Automobile Association as Director – Government Relations & Communications, as well as time as Acting Chief Executive. Prior to that he worked for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, so he has a solid grounding in the retail automotive industry.

James on:

The role of ANCAP

“There’s been some talk about ‘why do we need ANCAP when the local manufacturing industry goes?’. ANCAP has always been about the local marketplace and not about the local industry. It’s always been assessing imported vehicles.

“Six of the top 20 selling vehicles on sale in Australia at the moment don’t have a Euro ANCAP rating, so we can see we’ve got different market preferences to other parts of the world, and that’s always going to be the case.”

His role as CEO

James represented brands when he was with the FCAI, working with Dealers on the move to drive-away pricing, the advertising code and other consumer issues. At AAA he dealt with Dealers on competition issues and the right to repair issue. He will soon meet with AADA CEO, Bruce McDonald, and tour showrooms to further inform himself on the issues facing Dealers.

“I can see from the different sides – both the consumer advocate side of things as well as understanding the Dealer industry and the relationship the Dealers have with the brand as well. I have contacts and networks across that sector and I would like to build on that.

“I see my role as a stakeholder relationship one and improving those stakeholder relationships. If we improve the relationship ANCAP has with all our stakeholders, with our member organisations, with government, with Dealers – both new and second-hand – and with the media as well, what we’re doing is actually helping the end consumer know about safety, know about safety ratings and know about ANCAP.

“The industry is changing and consumer expectation is changing. Everyone will do well if the consumer stays as the key focus, whether it’s ANCAP or whether it’s a Dealer. If we’re responding to what the consumer wants and needs, we’ll be in a good situation. We need to work with the brand and the Dealer to make sure everyone’s got the resources throughout the chain of buying a vehicle.”

The AADA-ANCAP relationship

“I believe we’ve already got a positive relationship – and I’d say it’s more than a relationship, it’s a partnership. As with any partnership we could always improve it. We’ve got a new leadership team at ANCAP and also at AADA, with new chairs and new CEOs, so I’d say it’s a good time to improve communications; we can look at new ideas and how we can partner together and improve that relationship. Hopefully we will have an improved relationship, both for the consumer and for the Dealer.

“I see that ANCAP has a role as a resource to Dealers and that means we need to make sure the Dealers have got the resources and the knowledge they need to be able to inform the consumer about safety. In that way we’re getting a better road safety outcome for the whole community.

“ANCAP shouldn’t be a threat of any kind to Dealers. It’s actually a resource. We see that people want to know about the safety rating of the vehicle, so let’s make sure they’ve got that resource and use it as a way of selling vehicles.”

How Dealers can use ANCAP

“Our research shows that 66 per cent of people reference ANCAP ratings before buying a car, and consumers rank safety as equal priority when buying a new vehicle, equal with price. It’s well-respected, so let’s see how that can flow through into assisting the Dealer and the salesman in selling vehicles and selling that new safety technology.

“Dealers have a very important role to play in improving the vehicle fleet and, through that, reducing the road toll. They may not see themselves immediately as doing that, but they are part of that process.

“Here’s the stark reality: if you’ve got a five-star car you halve the chance of serious injury in a crash than if you were driving a three-star. Dealers have a vital role in the chain of improving the road safety outcome for Australia.”

How ANCAP can help Dealers

“We’re continually raising the safety bar. What it takes to get a five-star vehicle changes over time as the vehicle fleet improves. So we need to make sure the Dealers and the sales staff are aware of those changes, but also if they’re selling an older vehicle, a second-hand vehicle, in their showroom, that they’re aware of those differences and they’re comparing like for like.

“I want to make sure that Dealers have the information and the resources to talk confidently with consumers about ANCAP, and also about broader road safety and safety technologies in vehicles.”

Getting the message out

“We need to look at digital resources, online resources, as well as in-showroom material and marketing material. Down the track, with things like apps and QR codes, let’s see if we can work together to improve people’s knowledge of ANCAP, and also to make sure that people are confident that they’re getting the safest vehicle they can, and that they can get that information when they’re in the showroom.

“We know that the marketplace here is changing. From a consumer perspective, we’ve got a lot more online and digital research. Dealers can look to embracing the online and digital space, looking at social media.”

AADA welcomes James into the role and looks forward to his regular contributions to this publication.

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