Although it’s more expensive than the product from a previous supplier, sales manager Garrett Green said that sales penetration is up 7% to around 30%. Thame employs four valeters, with Green reporting the biggest take-up of treatment for nearly-new.
Small price for customers
“It becomes harder to sell for cars more than four years old, but for £11,000 – the average price of our stock – £300 is a relatively small price for customers to protect their investment,” added Green. With the service comes a free pack of Autoglym’s car care products, which, if bought individually from retail outlets, would cost at least £100, according to Green.
LifeShine is also offered by JCT600 because of its BMW and Audi endorsements, but its main supplier is GardX. Simon Barrass, JCT600’s finance and insurance director, said: “Both products have appeal to those who view cars as their pride and joy and also recognise the financial benefits when it comes to part-exchange.”
He reports penetration of around 40% for new and 20% for used, with a volume sector charge-out of £299, rising to £499 for prestige. For customers who decline, there is time for second thoughts before the car goes for valeting. “We ask them if they want the standard service and again point out the benefits of a ‘protected’ one,” said Barrass.
It’s a tactic endorsed by James Smyth, general manager of Supagard. His clients include multi-franchised group Glyn Hopkin and 20 carmaker approvals.
“Before the car is prepared the dealer might call the customer to ask them again how they want it prepared,” said Smyth. “There’s a good success rate this way. There’s a lot to consider during the car sale and some people might feel they’ve bought themselves out with the car and some GAP or warranty. This way they have one last chance to buy.”
Terry Chapman, head of LifeShine, recalled that when he joined Autoglym nine years ago,
penetration levels were around 25%. “Now I would be disappointed if they were less than 50%, going to the high 60s and even as high as 90% in the case of prestige marques,” he said.
Chapman attributed these increases to advances in technology and, critically, improvements in sales training.
He said: “Our paint protection is not just ‘posh polish’, it has proven benefits against things like paint fade and, in the case of fabrics, stain resistance.
“But our training support emphasises that sales people have to be honest with customers, acknowledging that it has limitations against damage like scratches and stone chips.”