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Owen goes all-makes

Lance Owen Group has opened a £1m all-makes aftersales centre in Surrey which has gained authorised repairer status for all General Motors’ UK brands.

The 23,000sq ft converted warehouse at Byfleet has 23 service bays, including a number for commercial vehicles and Class 4 and Class 7 MoT testing. It also houses £1.5m of stock.

The centre currently has repair franchises for Vauxhall, Saab, Daewoo and Chevrolet, but managing director Lance Owen says he is considering seeking more franchises from outside GM.

Although he wouldn’t specify which brands appeal most, he says the area is an open point for a number of volume carmakers and therefore offers good business opportunities.

“We looked at the opportunities now opened up by block exemption. With manufacturers’ extended service intervals we could see aftersales would slowly decline, so we have looked at how we can grow our business by catering to all makes of vehicle,” says Owen, who adds that the workshop is already able to service any vehicle to its manufacturer’s standards.

A direct mailing campaign has targeted thousands of local motorists, and Owen claims the centre has received strong interest from car and commercial vehicle leasing companies seeking “convenient maintenance”.

From launch last month, Owen introduced a number of customer-focused offers, including a guaranteed 60-minute express service and out-of-hours servicing for fleet clients. The centre is capable of selling £200,000 of labour a month, while the group as a whole sells £7m of parts annually.

Alterations to the building have created a customer area with broadband internet access through desktop PCs and connections for customers’ laptop computers. The area overlooks the entire service centre, allowing customers to watch their vehicles being service.

Lance Owen Group, established 18 years ago, has seven Vauxhall and Saab dealerships in Surrey and Kent. All will continue their own aftersales operations.

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