John Woolley, Black Horse Motor Finance managing director, says some dealers recognize the threat from high street lenders and are prepared to fight back by lowering their APRs and converting more customers as a result.
“We advocate little but often as the long term model,” says Woolley. “If dealers try to maintain profits from a smaller number of customers then it will undermine this model and erode profits. We’ve tried to address this, with mixed results.”
Although officially appointed in March, Woolley has been in effective control for the past year, since former MD Phil Stones’ heart attack. Seen as a safe pair of hands, he has a similar outlook to Stones, who spoke out to AM in 2004 for the need for dealers to stop overcharging on their APRs, and is keen for continuity. “Don’t expect big changes,” Woolley says.
That said, the company is going through a restructure intended to keep it relevant in a changing market. Woolley is reducing the number of account managers out in the field in favour of office-based consultants.
“We have a wide spread of dealers from the big groups to the small businesses and they have different needs,” he says. “The smaller dealers are responding very positively to the sales consultants – they have instant access to advice and help.”
Woolley is extending the programme to include more dealers. “We have found that they are performing better with the sales consultant back up. And it enables us to put more resources at these dealers when they need it.”