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Sytner sales rise

Space is the biggest benefit identified by dealer principal Richard Berry six weeks after relocating Sytner’s Solihull BMW and Mini business to a £10m new dealership.

The 3.4-acre site improves efficiency and provides a better customer experience. The business previously operated from an ageing one-acre dealership nearby. It had only six customer parking spaces; the new one has 60.

Berry expects turnover to hit £50m this year, against £40m at the old location. He adds: “Our performance in May was significantly better than previously, and this month in used cars we’re having out best month ever by a significant margin.”

Around 80% of business is retail, so Berry sees local corporate sales as a growth opportunity for the future. The dealership hosted a breakfast for the town’s chamber of commerce this month, and has previously organized ‘ride and drive’ events for business leaders.

He believes dealers have to adapt to change as the market toughens. “If you carry the right products and give customers what they need and expect, it’s still possible to sell motor cars in large numbers.”

The key is to answer every enquiry. “We have dedicated enquiry managers, and our sales managers can link into the enquiry system and ensure that leads are being followed up,” Berry adds.

The showroom displays 16 new and seven used BMWs, while a standalone showroom in Mini’s latest ‘black box’ corporate design has space for six cars. External displays cater for 73 used BMWs and 25 used Minis. The 22-bay workshop provides aftersales, MoT and tyre fitting facilities for both marques, and a 10-bay valeting centre is also shared.

Benefits are there for both customers and employees. Business clients can use a boardroom for work or meetings while their cars are being serviced. The 94 staff have a well-equipped canteen, showers and locker room. Retention of staff is above the national average: turnover is just 11%.

Once a month managers cook bacon sandwiches for their teams, and staff barbecues help foster team-spirit.

The move was backed by a comprehensive marketing strategy, which started while at the old site by leaving mirror hangers inside cars being serviced to inform customers of the relocation.

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