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Drop 'sub' attitude and customers will return

Dealers turning away people with a poor credit rating - also known as sub prime - are missing out on good long-term potential business, finance adviser John Hawkins told delegates at 'Used car crossroads', the Automotive Management spring conference.

There were more than 8m credit refusals a year in the UK and too many customers were lost. “Once you have helped people through a tough time, they will stay with you,” he told delegates. “The aim must be to capture people and stop them walking out of the showroom. Treat people with kindness, and they'll keep coming back.”

Mr Hawkins, who advises automotive business in the UK and US, said turnover of his motor retail group was split 55% new/10% used in 1991. By 1998, new was taking 5% and used 55%, with sub prime sales accounting for up to 40% of that business in some outlets.

He suggested there was vast scope in personal leasing of used cars which he estimated to be potentially worth £8bn in the UK, based on a £2,000 profit on 4m sales.

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