YEAR IN REVIEW: Dealer’s eye view

by Dec 20, 2018Blog

Next up in our Year In Review series, we gave some dealers the chance to have their say on 2018. Whilst looking back at the last 12 months, we spoke to a handful of dealers to see which challenges they faced, how they overcame them, and what they were looking forward to in 2019 and beyond.

Vanessa – Fouracres of Thorney

Fouracres of Thorney is a family run business based on the outskirts of Peterborough in the historic village of Thorney. With over 40 years’ experience in the motor industry, Fouracres of Thorney specialises in double cab pick ups and 4×4 vehicles. With a no-pressure sales policy believing that the quality of the vehicles should sell themselves, Fouracres has developed a reputation for top quality customer service.

What has been the biggest challenge facing motor dealers in 2018?

“I think that the hardest challenge we’ve faced this year is finding stock at the right price. There is plenty of stock out there, but the difficulty has been finding it at a price that allows us to keep our margins the same. We often spend plenty of time searching online, and sometimes the stock is four thousand pounds apart from what we’ve previously been paying. It could’ve been a different price a couple of months ago.”

How have you worked to overcome this challenge in 2018?

“I approached different lease companies myself. We were previously buying through third parties, and when I was actually collecting the cars I said to them ‘why can’t I buy directly from you’. They said ‘you can’. So now I am doing that and we’re saving ourselves hundreds of pounds per vehicle, because that was the fee. So we’ve spent time working and finding out who these big lease companies our so we can deal with them directly.”

What has been your highlight of 2018?

“I think that the show we did was very successful. We attended a farm and country show and took along three pickup trucks with vehicles. We had a big gazebo, we gave out goodie bags, and we had leaflets printed. Whilst we didn’t actually sell a vehicle, just being out there, with everything branded, and my family promoting the brand, it felt great. We felt like a real brand, and it felt really good.”

What do you think will be the biggest challenges dealers will face next year?

“The same as this year, it will be continually trying to replace stock at the same price as before. If we have to work for a shorter margin, and do more numbers, then we may have to work towards that. With the team we have in place now, we’re able to do that. But trying to keep that profit level, per unit, the same as it has been this year, will be the biggest challenge we’ll come up against in 2019.

What are you most optimistic about in 2019?

“Going on holiday! But seriously, this year has been a learning curve, but we’re optimistic about next year. We feel like saying ‘just bring it on’. There aren’t many people that specialise like we do, people are getting to know who Fouracres are, and what we’re about. So we can’t wait for next year.

“We’re going to embrace our advertising, keep out there on social media, keep pumping our name out there, saying ‘this is what we do’, and getting people to interact. We also want to try to build up the local business a bit more as well!”

Pauline – Parkside Fiat and Abarth

Parkside Fiat and Abarth are an established dealer in London and are the premier dealer when it comes to Fiat and Abarth customer care. Based in Hounslow this is a dealership that serves customers from both the local area and further afield in the UK. Whether customers are buying a new car, or having their current one serviced, Parkside Fiat and Abarth are a business with a fantastic reputation for offering a top quality service.

What has been the biggest challenge facing motor dealers in 2018?

“Brexit. It’s leaving people feeling uncomfortable and lacking in confidence, which is affecting how people buy.”

How have you worked to overcome this challenge in 2018?

“We have done some deals with Fiat with regards to free registrations and we’ve worked towards having stock around us that was more viable for people to buy. We’ve had to change the way our market stall is set, through necessity.”

What has been your biggest highlight of 2018?

“New staff members. We’ve had some really great new staff members come on board this year.”

What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing car dealers next year?

“Brexit. Not only are people concerned with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, but even the manufacturers don’t know where they stand. Manufacturers are holding back, and combining this with the new laws on emissions, it’s putting a lot of strain on them.”

Daniel – Pevensey Bay Car Centre

Established in 1983, Pevensey Bay Car Centre is a family run business that’s dedicated to supplying customers with quality, affordable cars. With over 45 years’ experience in the industry, Pevensey Bay Car Centre appeals to a wide variety of customers, supplying a hand-picked, varied selection of vehicles from prestigious saloons, to 4x4s and sports cars. Over the years, they have steadily built a reputation as one of the leading independent car dealers in East Sussex.

What has been the biggest challenge facing motor dealers in 2018?

“The biggest challenge facing motor dealers in the last 12 months was probably the diesel emissions problem that arose earlier in the year. After that people wanted to find out more about diesel emissions, and lots of people were worried. I know a lot of people will say Brexit has been the biggest challenge this year, but more specifically for the automotive industry, I’d say the problems earlier in the year surrounding the diesel emissions were bigger. This has been the thing that actually stops people from going ahead and buying, as they’re worried by the negative press.”

How have you worked to overcome this challenge in 2018?

“We made sure that we were informing customers and making people aware that the issue wasn’t as big as the press were making out. We put data on our website at the time, and answered customers’ queries, helping put people at ease. For example, What Car said that between 2011 and 2015, emissions were at a lower point than in the past, and that from 2015 onwards, they have been lower than ever, because they have a Euro 6 standard rating.

“So we worked to reassure consumers. People get scared by the bad press, and are concerned about emissions. But we’ve worked to inform and reassure customers about the facts and the data.”

What has been your highlight of 2018?

“We’re really pleased to have built some great relationships with local, independent service garages. This has enabled us to offer a fantastic level of service and repair work to our customers.”

What do you think will be the biggest challenge dealers will face next year?

“The biggest challenge next year will be Brexit and the fallout from that. It’s coming next year, and as a business we can see that the fallout from Brexit will have some sort of bearing on people thinking if they can purchase a vehicle or not, because it will create uncertainty.

“It has already had some impact this year, however, I feel that it will have an even larger impact next year. It takes a while to adjust, but sometimes change can be a good thing… We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.”

What are you most optimistic about in 2019?

“Whilst Brexit is very much out of our control, we’re optimistic about all of the things we can control. For example, we will have a high quality of car and we’ll have a high quality of customer service. We’re optimistic that we’ll continue to do what’s in the best interest for the company and our customers.”

Michael – Coleford Leisure

Coleford Leisure is a brand new Spidersnet customer that we’re delighted to have on board. Situated in the heart of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, Coleford Leisure is a family run dealership that sells new and used motorhomes. Coleford Leisure is a great business, with a reputation for excellent service, supplying customers from all over the UK with a wide range of varied, but always top quality, new and used motorhomes.

What has been the biggest challenge facing motor dealers in 2018?

“Getting good quality used stock. We actually market and advertise to buy, but competition is very strong with all of the other dealers. So trying to get the right stock at the right prices is the biggest challenge for us.”

How have you worked to overcome this challenge in 2018?

“We extended our advertising. We’ve been advertising with the Caravan Club, in their magazines, to get people to contact us, utilising national advertising, from one end of the country to the other.”

What has been your biggest highlight of 2018?

“We have attended a couple of outdoor shows, which were both very good for us. We got some very good sales out of them. We had stands and we sold vehicles off them, so they were two good shows.”

What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing car dealers next year?

“The country is in a bit of a muddle. Which is the frightening thing. We’re here with a yard full of stock, and we’re hoping we get off to a good start early in the year, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be in this industry. But we just do not know what’s around the corner do we?

“We’re hoping that it’s all going to sort itself out, and people are going to spend, but you don’t know. People are not knowing what’s happening. Do they commit, don’t they commit? It could be a tricky start.”

What are you most optimistic about in 2019?

“We’ve actively gone out, we’ve got plenty of new stock, and we’ve changed the website, so we’re aiming to have a good season. But god knows what’s going to happen out there. We’ll see. We’re here, we’re ready. We’ve done everything we can do, but we just don’t know what’s around the corner.”

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