Investment facilities and additional staff were at the heart of Citygate Automotive’s turnaround story at Seat Reading.
Helping to secure the judges’ vote was an impressive drive for change at the facility, which delivered a transformation of used car, parts and labour sales in the eight months following its acquisition in Q1, 2018.
The confines of the dealership’s location on Peppard Road, Reading, presented challenges but an investment of around £1.5 million to acquire and refurbish the site created the foundations for success.
Citygate’s entry said the result was something that “looks and feels really special” and had helped it to attract both talented staff and conquest customers.
The workforce at the Seat Reading franchise grew from 12 to 17 under Citygate, with an additional showroom manager and the creation of aftersales manager, parts advisor, on-site operations manager and apprentice technician roles.
Efficiencies were also achieved through integration with Citygate’s wider resources with staff training from its academy and operational support from its new and used car managers, body shops and preparation centres.
Citygate’s communications expertise helped to overcome the issues presented by the a lack of a customer database, meanwhile, by developing a social media presence and hosting a four-day pop-up placement in Reading’s Oracle shopping mall.
The business’ entry said the strategy had enabled it to “transition from a point of closure to becoming the No1 retailer on Seat’s Sales Balance Scorecard nationally”.
During the eight months to September 30, 2019, Reading Seat reported a 27.3% year-on-year rise in turnover to £9,047,662 and a 32.2% rise in gross profit to £1,089,910.
New car profit rose from £296,262 to £381,584, while used car profit rose from £237?? to £57,036; the service department from £38,007 to £73,690; and the parts department from £35,250 to £57,147.
In 2020, there are plans to grow the parts and labour sales by a further £300,000 by bringing throughput up to levels experienced by the wider group along with its vehicle sales volumes after investing in off-site used car storage.
Seat Reading also aims to achieve double Seat UK’s network average of 2% ROI in 2020.
Finalists: Cartime, Citygate Seat Reading, Just Nice Clean Cars, MB Motors
Award sponsored by: BNP Paribas Personal Finance