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Parking battles deter customers

Dealerships are being held back by on-site parking problems, which put extra pressure on the business and can deter some customers.

Results of a study of 800 franchised motor retailers by consultancy Forester Grant Associates show that more than three quarters feel parking issues hamper their business, as visitors fight for a space among new and used models, demonstrators, part exchanges and vehicles to be serviced.

“At the most fundamental level, footfall is reduced because the customer who wants to come into your showroom to look at your product sometimes gives up trying to park and goes elsewhere, to a competing dealer who has more space available,” says Tim McGing, who is the managing director of FGA.

“Usually the biggest culprit in any franchise is the used car operation. In a number of cases, a site full of used cars was the result of a poorly managed used car department, where stock was sitting around for months and over-buying was common.”

Even when a dealer extends parking capacity, within months the space tends to be filled, says McGing. “This happens where there is no management control attached to parking spaces. Staff tend to fill up the available space.

“In extreme situations, the introduction of a traffic attendant directing cars to spaces or the use of valet parking works well.”

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