Crewe Seat faces some significant challenges. Its location is not ideal – the small site has no visible forecourt to those that venture down the cul-de-sac it sits in – and Swansway admits that Seat is a “niche brand”.
Swansway operates 19 centres, but Crewe is its only Seat franchise. The business has turned itself around, however, with some help from head office. The site has been refurbished and its four-strong leadership team has 30 years’ experience with Swansway and has a proven record in the business.
Turnover has increased 141% in three years and operating profit has gone from £1,472 to £384,000 over the same period. For much of 2014, the business was number one in Seat’s balanced score card ‘S Power’ league.
This has been brought about through, in sales, a change of mindset to pre-selling. All cars are advertised online before their arrival, with the majority of used cars sold before they arrive on site. In aftersales, the focus is on retaining older vehicles through service plans and a customer contact centre has relieved pressure on service advisers.
Investment in staff, an inclusive management style and a clear focus on routes to market and the importance of customer service have meant this dealership leads the field in one of the AM Awards’ most competitive categories, said the judges.
“The business has delivered outstanding, double-digit sales growth – and a 2.7% return on sale – with a niche brand in a challenging location.”
Category sponsor: The Warranty Group
Vic Young (South Shields)
2014 Barnetts Volkswagen; 2013 Peter Vardy Vauxhall Motherwell; 2012 Cross Roads Garage