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Castrol will use OFT report to increase dealership profits

Lubricants specialist Castrol has launched a series of initiatives following publication of the Office of Fair Trading report on car servicing, saying it could lead to a substantial increase in dealership turnover.

OFT recommendations included a task force to tackle the problems of training deficiency and quality control.

Castrol volunteered to be part of the task force likely to be set up within six months.

Castrol believes a number of its initiatives respond to the report's recommendations. Its workshop efficiency consultancy programme was designed to help dealers improve efficiency, ensuring all necessary work is found, reported and carried out for customers.

From initial studies by Castrol in 30 UK dealerships, as many as 50% of cars entering a workshop needed additional work to that requested.

Using the Castrol programme, dealers identified all the repairs needed. In the study, dealer invoice values rose by an average £25, typically worth an increase in turnover of more than £60,000 within large dealer groups.

Lookers is using the programme and operations director Brian Schumacker said: "Financial drive and providing a real added benefit to the customer - by making thorough and safe inspections of the vehicles - is a winning combination."

Dealers pay a one-off fee of £4,500, which includes support and training for staff. David Goosey, area workshop channel manager for Castrol, Northern Europe, said: "A large part of Castrol's future lies in offering customers the business support they need to meet the challenges ahead."

Castrol has also launched a service reception training programme. Besides learning sales skills to generate additional sales of Castrol's range of lubricants, the scheme also gives important training on customer behaviour, how to turn enquiries into sales and creating a good sales environment.

A recruitment programme called 'search and select' gives dealers a step-by-step guide to recruiting staff with the right skills for the job.

At a time when dealers face added business pressure, particularly from the emergence of dotcom rivals, Mr Goosey, said: "Recruitment can be a large burden on dealer management. "This programme aims to remove that burden."

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