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Benfield hits back at car superstores

North-east dealer group Benfield Motors has responded to the growing threat from internet-based importers and car superstores by launching another innovative pilot scheme to lure back customers.

Bid N Buy, which ran for 10 days, gave customers the opportunity to place a bid on all used vehicles at Benfield's Skoda dealership, including Vauxhall, Citroen, Ford, Toyota and Seat models.

Benfield Skoda general manager Martin Davison, who devised the scheme, said each vehicle was marked with a “highly competitive” minimum reserve price.

“The first customer that made an offer above the minimum reserve was able to buy the car for that price,” he added. “An instant decision was made on each car.” Bid N Buy was launched to combat “a state of flux” in the motor industry, helping “customers who are confused” by the mixed messages on quality and value from new entrants, like internet retailers and superstores.

The first weekend of the trial, May Day bank holiday, saw a 20% increase in footfall to the dealership, according to Mr Davison. “We have also had a 50% increase in phone logs,” he said. “The early results have been really good.” The 12-month, low mileage ex-fleet and lease vehicles are priced significantly lower than recommended by the residual values guides. For example, a 9,000-mile T-plate Daihatsu Cuore, priced around £5,500 by Glass's Guide, sold for £3,900.

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