AM Online

Snowfall hits dealers’ bottom line

Dealer profits have been hit hard by this year’s heavy snowfall. An 85% majority told AM in its latest online poll that the bad weather in January and in the past few weeks had negatively affected their bottom line. Feedback suggests £5,000 lost for each day their servicing garages were closed due to the snow.

John Robertson, chief executive at Struans Motor Village in Perth, said: “During the first part of winter in 2010 and recently we have experienced the worst winters within memory in this part of Scotland. With roads in-accessible customers have not been able to travel to us. This has meant a loss of about four weeks of productive time in this calendar year.”

Richard Roberts, managing director of Trident Garages, said: “When customers see snow they cancel their workshop booking. If you don’t sell a car today, you can sell it tomorrow, but if you don’t sell an hour today, you can’t sell that hour tomorrow, so it does damage your bottom line.”

Other dealer comments from the poll:

 “Staff unable to get in, customers unable to get in, suppliers unable to deliver - other than that, the snow has had no impact! We have of course seen a rise in enquiries for both new and used 4x4s.”

“Added to the belt-tightening of would be car buyers, this gives yet another reason to delay on a car purchase.”

“Based in Macclesfield, we have a large customer base in Buxton and have had a lot of business postponed.”

“The arrival of snow brings a compound financial whammy. The absence of staff, customers or deliveries doesn't bode well for any retail business. Apart from the picturesque view, unless you sell road salt or tarmac, it's bad news.”

“Yes for sales the light has switched off on what was promising to be a reasonable month on the back of November sales. Trying to rebook customers was hard for servicing because of Christmas looming so most have said they would ring us in the new year, of course we will pursue them as much as possible in the new year.”

“Our end of year bonus will probably be missed due to the lack of footfall.”

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