Entering Jemca Toyota Enfield’s showroom is like walking onto a motor show stand.
Warm reds mix with plenty of white and cream and the lighting heightens the impact of the displayed new cars.
Sensors in the roof automatically adjust the brightness of the lighting according to the position of the sun and its intensity.
That’s part of the efficiency programme.
Putting the customer first
In the circular hub of the dealership is an area where customers can sit with a coffee. Leading off are zones (new cars one way, parts and service another).
A large plasma TV carries the BBC’s news channel and a cabinet holds Toyota-branded goods for sale.
Outside the hub, behind a ‘just ask’ sign, sits a telephonist/host: Toyota sees this as an essential back-to-basics ingredient in the retail rethink – a key part of putting the customer first.
In the dealership’s first month, said Collis, 40 new cars were registered and 37 sold – customers also bought 48 used cars.
Service hours totalled 1,169 and parts turnover was almost £85,000.
For financial year 2012/13 Jemca Enfield is budgeted to turnover £18.86m – £16m from new and used cars and the rest from service and parts.
Jemca Toyota Enfield’s 34 employees need to accept TTC’s vision for its worldwide motor retail network: “To grow a profitable business where customers love to visit, and people love to work”.
Near-neighbours include a large Stephen James BMW/Mini dealership.
A hotel nearing completion is said to be fully booked for the duration of the London Olympics and storage firms are taking space too.
Enfield, 12 miles from the centre of London, borders Tottenham, which has some of Britain’s most deprived areas.
But the most unprepossessing suburbs in London and other capital cities have a habit of eventually moving upmarket.
The 32 square-mile borough of Enfield is London’s fifth biggest, with a population of close to 300,000 (half of them are believed to work elsewhere).
Though depressing in parts 38% of Enfield’s land is green belt.
Enfield’s local authority is keen to attract investment, knowing it can set off a ripple of minor start-ups, create jobs and produce an all-round improvement.
Toyota’s trading arm and the councillors of Enfield share a long-term ambition for Enfield’s brighter future.
The Enfield dealership is solus Toyota and Jemca also retails only for sibling Lexus, at least for now.
“TTC understands commercial realities and we would consider adding other brands, though no other manufacturer has approached us,” said Collis.
He is aware that Renault Retail is likely to dual-franchise with brands other than Nissan – this year’s cuts in the UK Renault model range leave gaps other carmakers could fill.
Jemca also has Toyota and Lexus dealerships in a motor alley on the busy Edgware Road in north London and in Bromley and Sidcup in south London.
There is a solus Toyota site in Croydon and service-only points in Streatham and Croydon (both south London).
In addition to seeing the potential for aftersales revenue growth Collis also changed Jemca’s part-exchange policy. “I could not see why valuable trade-ins were sent for auction,” he said.
“Now we keep the best and also acquire used stock.”
An all-makes used car sales outlet in Garrick Road near the North Circular/M1 junction is branded Jemca Car Group (“we need to make people more aware of the name of the business,” says Collis).
The site retails higher-value trade-ins (German brands are favoured) and Collis wants this to develop into a small network.
Today’s Jemca Car Group has its roots in two entrepreneurial motor retail businesses.
The original Jemca, which started on the Edgware Road, was merged by Toyota’s trading arm with McCarthy, which ran Toyota dealerships in south London.