The 63,000sq ft centre will initially focus on new cars, but will be extended to handle used car refurbishment from 2008. It has the capacity to prep 12,000 cars per year.
The centre replaces a smaller facility which shared space at Stephen James’s bodyshop at Enfield.
It will enable the group to double its bodyshop capacity at Enfield to 30,000sq ft, turning the operation into a central repair facility for the group. It also frees up space at Stephen James’s smaller dealership at Sidcup, Kent, enabling it to increase volume of aftersales work.
“At the moment we subcontract out about £70,000-80,000-worth of bodyshop jobs per month,” says Stephen James managing director Ben Collins.
“That’s around £900,000 revenue lost per year. We hope to retain at least half of that this year. As metal margins fall we have to bring in-house as much work as possible, such as tyres and alloy refurbishment.”
The PDI centre will be split into preparation, used car sales and logistics. The used car section will display 120 cars, fully prepped and ready for sale. They will be advertised online and customers will also be able to view them on-site, similar to a used car supermarket.