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Updated: Channel 4 commissions dealer documentary series

Channel 4 has commissioned a new three-part documentary series called The Dealership which will follow used car supermarket Essex Car Company.

Episodes for the series 'The Dealership' can be found on 4OD.

The description of the show states: “Viewers will get to know the salesmen who will do anything they can to close a deal, as well as meeting buyers with an eye for a bargain.”

Richard Macer of Platform Productions said: “Car dealing in recession hit Britain is a tough existence.

“Over six months filming at Essex Car Company we found that the profit margins are not what they used to be and for the sales staff it really is survival of the fittest.

“Second hand car dealers here need to live off their wits and have the gift of the gab in order to take home the bacon.”

Do you think this documentary series will portray the automotive retail industry in a positive light? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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Comments

  • William Blackshaw - 29/07/2013 12:49

    If the tv production team have done their home work and found a dealer who relies on retention to survive then this will be good for the trade as they will do the job right.

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  • Ian Woodward - 29/07/2013 13:52

    Not a Chance - our Industry will never be shown in the positive light it deserves - we employ thousands upon thousands of hardworking, genuine people but this will just be an "Entertainment" programme that will further reinforce the negative stereotypes many customers have. It will be about as realistic as the Apprentice!

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  • Mark Oldfield - 29/07/2013 14:42

    A pure entertainment show. Where`s the fun in showing a job done properly? Will be very negative.

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  • Tom B - 29/07/2013 14:46

    Frankly based on my 30 year experience in the motor industry, the last 20 of which was with a prestige German brand, I doubt we will see behaviour and low grade techniques any different to those I have experienced at a supposedly 'higher level'

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  • Nick Tseriotis - 29/07/2013 15:14

    The quotes attributable to the production company will inevitably set the agenda to perpetuate their negative perceptions of the industry & no doubt portray the staff as charlatans & spivs. Have the production companies run out of the under class & benefit culture stereotypes to poke fun at for our infotainment? I despair that the motor trade is so craven that it will acquiesce quietly without a robust defence. Presumably the Essex Car Company understand that there will be a price to pay for the publicity/notoriety this type of programming generates? Or, is all publicity good publicity?

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  • Darren Street - 29/07/2013 16:06

    It is worrying putting out a Documentary like this, it could make out that Car Sales Staff use dodgy sales tacticsand make consumers more consious or suspicous....I really do beleive that Channel 4 are jumping on something that really will portrayed in a negative manner and this could be more damaging to what is already a very difficult industry....as a Recruitment Company, I am seeing more and more candidates looking to leaving the industry, the earning are by no means what they used to be and the hours and working conditions are much tougher...A fun industry to work in but I think the manufacturers are putting to much pressure on the fanchises and this will not be seen in a Car Supermarket environment

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    • Ahmed - 29/07/2013 22:50

      @Darren Street - what's the first rule in sales don't pre judge so why don't we all just watch the show before we "pre judge"

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  • Jim Reid - 29/07/2013 16:15

    We were contacted last year for this programme and was happy to talk to the producers at a more detailed level, however it became apparent that after discussing how we do business professionally, were up for two awards at the MTA awards 2012(one for customer care) and have 60-70% repeat business the programmers found that that would not be enough Micky taking with us involved, instead they have obviously found a company with loads of characters who portray the motortrade exactly like the public see us at the moment! Or am I being too hard on the makers? Great customer service and people doing a great job and working hard for a living unfortunately does not sell TV programmes!!

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    • Darren Street - 29/07/2013 16:34

      @Jim Reid - That is really worrying Jim, it is often the case that these Program Makers want a reaction and obviously an audience, but at what and who's expense!!!!, certainly not their own..... 99% of the car/motor trade industry are professional and can rely on repeat business and good customer services, but that bad 1% of the industry reflects on the positive 99% sector and then the whole industry is tarnished..... Good Customer Services, Happy Customers, Recommendations and Repeat Business does not make a thrilling watch, lets throw some dodgy dealings, wide boy sales men and antic's into a program and clever editing and make the industry appear 100% corrupt, now that makes a better watch and also will make the consumer believe that is how the entire industry...WRONG and Essex Car Company, I hope you get the reprocussions that you deserve following this program, be that negative or positive, we will see...

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    • the buckie boom man - 31/07/2013 20:49

      @Jim Reid - aye right Jim...i'm sure if you could have you 5 minutes of fame you would have jumped at the chance to promote that over inflated ego of yours and mickey mouse outfit

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  • Guy Allman - 29/07/2013 16:16

    A brave move - I'm not sure that the camera never lies...

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    • Darren Street - 29/07/2013 16:36

      @Guy Allman - Good editing Gary will be the key to this programs success, they won't show happy customers put it that way!!! Not a good move letting this program air I feel.....

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  • peter portlock - 29/07/2013 16:43

    Well I have not seen any of the episodes yet but its obvious that this company was chosen because it will make good viewing and get tounges wagging.Yes this business is competative but customers buy off people.It would be interesting to see the stability of the team and how long they have been with the company.However, I think i know the answer!!

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    • Porridge - 29/07/2013 18:29

      @peter portlock - Good point Peter, well made!

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  • Tom B - 29/07/2013 17:59

    Lets be honest with ourselves. This industry, its manufacturers and dealerships promote, utilises and actively adopts 'controlled sales processes' in which disingenuous practices are routinely carried out for commercial gain and or target achievement. As such, the industry automatically and unwittingly aligns itself with other industries of poor repute such as 'Double Glazing'. That is why the industry has such a poor reputation from a consumer point of view and that is why TV producers target it. It is also why dealerships are predominantly staffed with short stay individuals who end up as 'journeymen' moving from one dealer to another throughout their career. The pressure to sell by any means for job retention does little to promote longevity - which we all know is the catalyst for customer loyalty. When dealerships start to adopt 'treating customers fairly' in an open and transparent way allowing the consumer to make an unpressurised buying decision in their own time based on factual information - then we may see views changing. Until then the 'dinosaurs' continue to rule. I am not suggesting all dealerships deserve this criticism, there are perhaps a few that do not - and my guess is those that do will not be contributing to this discussion and they will unfortunately be the majority. The industry might not like what its about to see, but my bet is that pretty much every one watching will cringe now and then when they realise the DNA exists in their dealership too. Despite what some may claim - the industry's reputation is a basket case and there is a great deal of work to do to reverse it. When will the industry wake up and be totally at peace with itself without fear of being exposed and without having to develop the next 'closing technique' or employing the next structured sales 'controller'. The industry is selling to human beings and they should be treated with dignity and respect. I am no longer dealership management. I work in an on-line insurance brokerage and I have to endure dozens of customers tales of poor dealership behaviour and sharp practices every day - and many of those practices are common throughout the industry. Gentlemen, you have the shovel and you have started digging.

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    • Darren Street - 29/07/2013 18:09

      @Tom B - A SUPERB COMMENT Tom......

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    • Porridge! - 29/07/2013 18:27

      @Tom B - What a load of rubbish. No wonder you are no longer dealership management. This is the biggest load of drivvel I have heard. CSI is one of the highest things on dealer and manufacturers agendas. Maybe as a member of "dealership management" you were helpful in bringing down the reputation of the industry! You may want to look at the poor reputation insurance brokers have! Essex Car Company may well do us some harm but it is my belief that the majority of dealers work hard to please. I love this industry and I love porridge!Crack on son!

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    • Tom B - 29/07/2013 18:44

      @Porridge! - Truth does hurt I would admit and it is natural for the wounded to swipe back. The Fact is the last dealership I was involved in would use all types of tactics to improve CSI and no I was not involved in that area of responsibility. It is not unusual for a Sales Executive to say that his job is on the line or he doesn't get paid unless he gets a good CSI score - and thats just scratching the surface isnt it? I cant say I remember the last TV programme about sharp practices within an insurance broker but I am sure you will remind me. There probably are some bad insurance brokers too but we are forced to work in a heavily regulated industry that has the potential for crippling fines. Maybe the motor industry should work together to self regulate before you are fully regulated in the same way. I am not happy that the industry has the reputation it has - if I were, I would not be contributing in this discussion in the honest and constructive way that I have. I am sure you would not disagree 'Porridge' that CSI is only high on the dealer agenda because it forms a major part of the threshold for bonus income. It shouldn't be that way, it should be natural to do the right things. Sorry you are offended 'Porridge' - I wonder why? ' 'Crack on son' just about sums it up. I rest my case.

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    • Peter Portlock - 30/07/2013 09:28

      @Porridge Well said Tom,!

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    • Big Lad - 30/07/2013 14:51

      @Tom B - I agree with some of the points made by both you and Porridge but in reality Tom you do sound a little childish there. As a matter of interest Tom, what franchise were you with, for how long and when did you leave?

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    • Tom B - 30/07/2013 18:30

      @Big Lad - It was BMW. I worked in the BMW network for over 20 years, the last 11 with the same dealership and 7 years with the dealership before that.

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    • Porridge's Big Mate - 31/07/2013 12:08

      @Tom B - 11 + 7 = 18 ... not 20! No wonder you failed!

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    • Road Runner - 31/07/2013 14:34

      @Porridge's Big Mate - attention to detail, nil point, 'It was BMW. I worked in the BMW network for over 20 years, the last 11 with the same dealership and 7 years with the dealership before that. Tom mentioned over 20 years, 11 at one dealership, 7 at another and possibly a period with another one before that? maybe, perhaps?

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    • Tom B - 31/07/2013 16:50

      @Porridge's Big Mate - Correct. I spent 2 years with a BMW before the 7 and 11 year stint. Sorry didn't realise it was an interview or detailed CV or that relevant frankly.

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    • Porridge's Big Mate's Best Mate! - 31/07/2013 17:07

      @Tom B - Thats why you're ripping off customer at a back street insurance broker. Maybe you need to spend more time working instead of commenting on an industry in which you failed.

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    • Tom B - 31/07/2013 17:36

      @Porridge's Big Mate's Best Mate! - With respect you dont know me or my history and I think it is less than professional to make personal judgements or attacks on people who are contributing to a discussion on a forum. I would like to know on what basis you are accusing me of 'ripping off' customers in a 'back street' insurance broker and why you suggest I 'failed' in the motor industry? There has been a good deal of intelligent comment on this thread and some good contribution, why don't you think about submitting some.

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    • Porridge's Big Mate's Best Mate - 31/07/2013 17:43

      @Tom B - All you have done is slag off the motor industry my friend. An industry you are no longer working in! Nuff said really! Why dont you go and contribute to something insurance related and leave the motor industry to the experts!

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    • Tom B - 31/07/2013 18:02

      @Porridge's Big Mate's Best Mate - I have aired an opinion that has been built on personal and factual experience in view of the fact there are people concerned about the content and image the upcoming TV show will portray. I have no wish or intention to 'slag off' the motor industry - I am simply suggesting it needs to improve its reputation and there is nothing wrong with that. Having worked in it for so long, I would like nothing more than to see its image and reputation improve. If you think all is well and wish to bury your head in the sand, thats your prerogative and preference. That is what forums are for - putting forward personal views and having others express their opinion on those views. Hey, we all have views on things such as politics, football, news etc we don't have to work in those industries to have an opinion. If you are saying your dealership is whiter than white - well done you - you are a lucky guy to be working for such a business. My experience was entirely different and thats why I no longer work in it. If you want detail - I am happy to share it.

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  • Ian Woodward - 30/07/2013 08:09

    Is it me or has this subject generated more feedback/comments than anything else AM have ever published?

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  • William Blackshaw - 30/07/2013 09:00

    I think it's clear from this, there are many passionate people in the trade that care. It would be great if all manufacturers recorded CSI in a regulated way so that good dealers were rewarded

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  • Peter Chenery - 30/07/2013 09:45

    I dont think it will leave a good impression. And, as a sole trader, I hope that my own sales do not fall as a consequence

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  • Alex Thomson - 30/07/2013 11:12

    When is the documentary due to be broadcast? I don't like the premise that the whole retail motor industry is a bunch of sharks. There are some very successful and professional companies out there, some of whom are my clients.

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    • Ian Woodward - 30/07/2013 11:33

      @Alex Thomson - I beleive its 8pm on Thursday Channel 4. 1st of 3 epiosodes

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    • Alex Thomson - 30/07/2013 11:38

      @Ian Woodward - Thanks for that, Ian.

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  • Jack - 30/07/2013 11:52

    Quote from digitalspy.co.uk - "A car dealership in Essex will be the focus of a new Channel 4 documentary series. The three-part series, which has the working title Dealers, follows the workforce of the family-run Essex Car Company. The 60-minute programmes will introduce us to "precocious" boss Greg, "ultimate salesman" James, who sells over 30 motors a month, and junior salesman Scott, who is on the verge of being fired for his low sales figures. The team - whose actions were filmed over the space of six months - have been trained "not to let punters leave until they've struck a deal". Channel 4 deputy head of factual Nick Mirsky said: "It is a fantastic opportunity to spend time with an enormously charismatic group of workers. You can't sell a car without having a way with words - and watching them on TV is a great chance to enjoy their talents without having to worry about your overdraft." This is likely to be as realistic a portrayal of a modern franchised dealer as watching Aladdin at Christmas and comparing their antics to your high street dry cleaners. Gentlemen - it will be a pantomime

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  • Philip Hodges, Nottingham - 30/07/2013 16:54

    I am sorry to say that this will not leave anyone with a good impression. Unfortunately the industry has been pummeled by over enthusiasm which has taken the salesmen into a false and bad form of selling. It is high time that honesty came back with good salesmanship which supports the company he /she works for and not personal gain only.

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    • Tom B - 30/07/2013 18:27

      @Philip Hodges, Nottingham - Great contribution and absolutely spot on. To make a positive difference, this is the attitude that is needed. Well done that man!

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    • Philip Hodges - 31/07/2013 12:44

      @Tom B - Thanks for the comment . I think there has to be a change also in service which shows that the dealer in many ways has not had the training to solve mechanical/electrical problem and forces unnecessary costly work and uses the vehicle manufacturer to justify the cost

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    • Philip Hodges - 31/07/2013 12:44

      @Tom B - Thanks for the comment . I think there has to be a change also in service which shows that the dealer in many ways has not had the training to solve mechanical/electrical problem and forces unnecessary costly work and uses the vehicle manufacturer to justify the cost

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  • stuart - 31/07/2013 13:31

    absolutely not - will do more harm than good!

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  • Darren Street - 31/07/2013 13:56

    Having watched the Trailer of the program, it is exactly what I thought, it makes the Car Sales Industry look Un-Professional, Pushy, No respect for the cars behind the customers back....DISGUSTING...If you watch the trailer, the guys are shouting over the pitch, standing on cars whilst they are in motion, talking to the customers un-profressionally......quite frankly if any of these actions happened within a Franchised Dealership, that sales person would be SACKED..... This another attempt from young Essex "BOYS" not men!! to jump on the fame of being on TV at the industry expense....

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  • mick mills - 31/07/2013 14:12

    Bad for the industry, we need to show the ethical and professional side of what we do,

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  • Steve Brighton - 31/07/2013 15:50

    Heaven forbid that TV decides to stereotype the industry - I think most customers of franchised dealerships would not recognise this dealership. They will see it for what the trailer indicates it will be - an exageration for effect that follows the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding School of TV

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  • Anthony Boddy - 31/07/2013 18:51

    I left the industry 3 years ago after 20 years service in aftersales. I genuinely did try to make a difference. Sadly I will not be able to watch this programme from behind the sofa!! The great work of the many, will quickly be undone by the few I fear. My deepest sympathies to those still trying modernise the industry.

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  • Adrian Graham - 01/08/2013 06:40

    The trouble with alot of channel 4 'documentaries' is that they are so over exaggerated as we all know not everyone on benefits is a lay about slob or that every person with a disability struggles to find a partner. This show is made for entertainment not for an insight in to the trade, when ever the motor trade is shown on the tv it's in a bad light, they should of saved themselves some money and stuck the box set of Swiss Toni on, it's likely to be as acurate a portrayal of the motor trade as that was.

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  • Malcolm Harvey - 01/08/2013 15:41

    Having now seen the clip it is exactly as expected showing the 'wrong' side of the retail motor industry and will undo all the hard work done by the vast majority of the retail motor industry. A programme made expecially for entertainment purposes and viewing figures and NOT a true view of the retail motor industry. I hope the the audience see this for what it is (entertainment) and not what the industry is really about but i doubt it. Why have channel 4 chosen a used car dealer and not a family dealer group such as Swansway. Wouldn't make good viewing would it? Need we say more!!

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    • Neil K - 08/08/2013 09:13

      @Malcolm Harvey - clearly you're not in the pre-owned/second hand car trade. This is the process and it works. Watch SUCKS.

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  • nick - 03/08/2013 08:16

    the poor sales guy who is fresh to the game was given no help from his manager, (2nd face) 21 year old test driving a range rover, erm only at the end of the qualification was insurance mentioned, and that was by the customer!

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  • Manchester Guy - 04/08/2013 22:41

    The 21 year old wanting to buy the range rover was a fool, firstly for not having a clue how much he owed, secondly, wanting to change his one year old car for a 7 year old car, and thirdly for thinking he can afford a rand river when in fact if is in negative equity on his existing Nissan ....typical youth of today

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    • Manchester Guy - 04/08/2013 22:47

      @Manchester Guy - "range rover" not "rand river".....predictive texting to blame, sorry

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  • Luke Clements - 05/08/2013 10:24

    On the plus side, maybe it'll show consumers that actually profit margins are a lot tighter than they first think...

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  • neil k - 08/08/2013 09:18

    Great show, just shows how out of touch the second hand car trade is. The '' PROCESS'' is over 20 years old.even seen the movie SUCKERS ?

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    • neil k - 08/08/2013 09:19

      @neil k - lol Thats EVER

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  • pissed off with con men - 20/08/2013 23:39

    after knwoing what i knew was right about car dealers and being ripped off ....never after seeing this would i ever go to a dealer EVER EVER again..going stick to private buys..not fake sales men,they dont give a damn if vehicle killed my kids or was un safe..alot in essex like that shows how crap and how they dont give a damn no matter the £thousands spent..is there a follow up programme on what cars went wrong to come and of they accept warranties???? last dealer i had in essex was crap.... engine set on fite,he then claimed bankrupt...7k lost....all conmen..the artur daleys need a revamp and we all need a new protection,we need a new system...stop dangerous cars being dealt. I would never entertain these people.....fake...dont care....go elsewhere is what this has really made me aware...its all money driven..safety not..with kids...that for me dont work.

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  • paul - 20/08/2013 23:56

    good for scott...will move on to a honest non bullshit job... fair play for leaving blaggers behind who dont give a crap...thankully someone cares if a car is safe,think he knows more than this shows!!!! buy private and no dealers....warranties its all sales crap... wont trust these with a barge pole

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