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GRS name change marks a new era

GRS is looking to establish partnerships with more manufacturers after unveiling its new branding. The name change – from Greenhous Remarketing Services to GRS – is intended to distance the company from its roots with Vauxhall dealer Greenhous Group while maintaining a link with the brand recognised by existing dealer customers.

Mike Pilkington, GRS sales and marketing director, said: “The company is now tailored to help smaller dealers compete, by giving them a better range of vehicles to choose from, better information, better service and a better deal than they've had access to before.

“We can help them compete with larger dealer groups who buy in bulk at fleet-type discounts.”

Mr Pilkington believes the name change will help GRS to attract business from more manufacturers – he hopes to sign two new partners this year.

GRS added Nissan last year to its manufacturer portfolio, which includes Vauxhall. It also supplies a wide choice of Volkswagen, Ford, Fiat and Renault models, which helped to boost sales last year to 20,000, up 4,000 on 1999.

“The more product and the better the mix we can offer buyers, the more appeal there is to attract new dealer customers,” said Mr Pilkington.

GRS is targeting 25,000 sales this year, and is confident of rapid growth should Block Exemption be dropped.

“We believe that franchised dealers will be the main source for future business if Block Exemption goes. They will need to look around for help that we can provide,” said Mr Pilkington.

He believes the key to success is service, not price. “We sell at a higher price than some rivals. Customers pay because they know they will get a full service – cars will be delivered ready to sell.”

GRS claims to have attracted more than 300 new customers over the past three months. It has achieved a 555% increase in active buyers over the past 18 months, selling to 1,100 dealers last year. Its database contains 3,548 companies – 2,200 have yet to use GRS, but research indicates around 70% believed they would in the future.

“The business is all about generating leads – once they are in the system, it's a case of continuing to get offers to them, maintaining constant contact,” said Mr Pilkington.

A new CRM database allows the company to provide buyer history; assess demand for different products, which indicates purchasing patterns; manage individual customer needs, with the help of personal account managers; and offer full portfolio management.

It also enables GRS to record information on competitors, like auction houses, though the company does not view them as direct rivals.

“Auction houses are not in vogue with manufacturers for nearly new cars because they are too visible to the market. We are not visible so we can maintain residual values,” said Mr Pilkington.

GRS this month launched a website with password-coded access for customers to source vehicles.

“We also plan to introduce online auctions for buyers this summer, but we have no plans to sell direct online – unless customers request this type of service,” said Mr Pilkington.

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