April 23, 2014

The glass is definitely half full

More good news with the announcement of new jobs created by Nissan at their Sunderland plant, shows the automotive industry is leading the way in helping the country get out of recession.

In general the market is fairly upbeat at present as demonstrated in our Car Maker’s Premier League where there have been significant increases in sales in the biggest month of the year.

Whilst dealers remain cautiously optimistic nobody is sitting on their laurels, especially with bank holiday season well and truly coming our way. These are a pain for car dealers where people just seem to do other things than buying cars, particularly if the weather is glorious.

Of course this year the Olympics and Euro Championships along with the usual annual events mean that, certainly in London, it is bound to have an effect on business confidence and as a result dealers will need to continue working extremely hard to encourage customers to part with their cash.

In fairness, in conjunction with the manufacturers, there have and continue to be some amazing deals out there and, as one dealer said to us recently “if you are buying with finance there has probably never been a better time to buy a new car” quite a statement, but it does demonstrate that if you are prepared to put in the groundwork you can locate a great deal for a great monthly payment.

The auctions are awash with cars at present so again, in terms of used cars, there is plenty of choice both for dealers looking to acquire retail stock and customers looking for a deal. The situation isn’t likely to continue however and the likelihood is that good quality, low mileage, interesting cars will likely prove elusive once more as the year wears on.

We have commented a lot lately on good service and the “dealer process” and the apparent inflexibility and unwillingness to treat customers as individuals and not part of a rigid sales pitch – designed to basically find out as much information as possible about someone to be taken down and used against them at a later date. Only the most narcissistic among us are likely to proffer that much info, but it appears that as the competition for business heats up, dealers are more likely to ensure that there are no regrets if they let a customer walk, potentially to a competitor. Therefore the canny customer can hopefully use this leverage to gain an advantage.

I was in a showroom the other day and chuckled to myself when I heard a customer approach a sales exec, who clearly recognised that he had been in before, and asked him whether he required any more info or another test drive to which the customer replied, in a rather apologetic fashion, that no he just wanted the “best deal” didn’t want to “mess about” and was prepared, if the numbers were right, to sign up today!

Music to the ears of the commission based sales exec and I just thought to myself “ok let the games commence…”


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