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'Dinosaur' Thompson relishes gold award

Triumphant Stephen Thompson, who led Perrys Milton Meynes to an Automotive Management gold award, celebrated victory over used car superstores.

Carrying off the award for top UK used car retailer ended four years of endeavour and followed a special commendation, a bronze award and then runner-up's silver.

For Mr Thompson, used car manager at the dealership for 11 years, the big prize marked “vindication” for his beliefs. “We've given our all to win this award – it has taken a team effort and our staff have been excellent,” he said.

Lancaster Cambridge (Porsche) took silver and Bristol Street Motors-owned Motor Nation bronze in the category for used car retailer.

Mr Thompson said: “What really brought a smile to my face in winning this award was the thought of all those used car superstores.

“Those that grew up five years ago have mostly gone down the pan or been bought by leasing companies. They had the new concept of huge stock levels with no haggling and we were told that we were old fashioned. Well, I may be a dinosaur, but our business is still going strong.

“We are proof that the British public does like haggling and doesn't need huge sites with loads of stock.”

Perrys Milton Keynes can accommodate up to 200 used cars, achieving an average monthly stock turn higher than 12 times a year. The dealership has been highly proactive in developing its internet site, employing a part-time person to take photos of cars in stock to put on the website.

In the summer, Perrys Milton Keynes launched a pricing comparison scheme, contrasting continental used car prices against its own. The move was backed with consumer mailshots and advertising.

“This campaign has attracted customers' imagination and increased traffic,” said Mr Thompson. “It helped us to regain the initiative.”

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