Innovation and the ability to turn a problem into profit were just two of the reasons why Wokingham Motors won AM’s used car retailer of the year.
By making bold business decisions, Peter Rand, Wokingham’s general manager, has managed to create a new retail brand, Runaround, and stimulate sales from a previously untapped section of the market.
Rand says the idea for Runaround struck him in 2006, prompted by two issues. Firstly, new and used car sales with its franchise partner Peugeot were in decline.
Secondly, the dealership was becoming frustrated by the number of non-franchise part-exchanges it was handling. Most were about five years old with no warranty and did not promote Wokingham’s Peugeot franchise. They were sold on to the trade.
Rand says: “Customers who buy from a reputable dealer expect an almost perfect car . It was not possible to lower these expectations under the Lion approved car scheme.”
Decreasing model mix
But these traders were doing well from buying Wokingham’s trade-ins and he wanted to capitalise on this. In addition, as sales of Wokingham’s used Peugeots slowed, and there was a decreasing model mix of used cars available from Peugeot, it had resorted to duplicating models to fill the forecourt.
Looking ahead, Rand could see the situation was unlikely to improve and knew radical action was the only way to stimulate sales.
Rand’s solution was to trial a scheme in early 2006 whereby the dealership sold non-franchise part-exchanges, but only those in good condition with a service history.
£500 trading margin
These vehicles were put on the forecourt for one month. They were underwritten by an independent trader as a back-up in case they didn’t sell. The price was based on what the trader thought it was worth. Rand says initially he had a £500 trading margin to help sell the cars quicker.
Each car was given a fresh MoT before being sold. This helped with the sale and gave the customer peace of mind. Vehicles with dents or scratches were offered sold-as-seen.
Initially, the idea of putting part-exchanges on the forecourt was resisted by dealership staff. They were uncomfortable about selling cars in less than prime condition.
- Read full coverage of the AM Awards in the 3 April 09 issue of AM. To subscribe to AM magazine click here or call 01733 468659.