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Dear AutoTrader,

 

I’ll come straight to the point. I have fallen out of love with you. 

 

You are no longer the same caring & sharing partner that I married all those years ago when we did things together that benefitted us both. 

 

Over the years you have become very selfish and greedy, especially with money. 

 

Our relationship no longer feels like a partnership, it is all your way or no way. 

 

Now that you have your fancy crib in Manchester with all the latest gadgets and influential city friends it seems that you are spending less and less time with me, even though I have never needed you as much as I need your support now. 

 

I have sacrificed others to be with you, giving all my marketing spend and more and what do you do? You ask for more but you give less in return. Will you ever be happy with what you get from me? Life used to be so simple with you. Now it’s so confusing and you seem to have an answer for everything even though it’s not your place to say. You always give your opinion and guess what? I’m fed up with it! The final nail in the coffin for me (and I’m not the only one) is the fact that you are no longer happy trying to help me sell, oh no. You want to have a go at being a trader without the risk! 

 

Now, what’s this part exchange tool all about? 

 

Oh yes … it’s to benefit all the potential buyers on your website. Well, I have been giving part exchange prices for years when these customers reach my forecourt, so why do you need to give these details away now and risk them never visiting me? Oh, ok, so I decide to opt out of having this as I don’t agree with it and what do you do? … you punish me by not including my cars in the customer’s search. My car’s! The car's that I pay you grandly each month to advertise and you are hiding them away from potential customers. When did you become god? 

 

It’s already hard enough getting potential customers in through the door without you giving away information so they can decide to stay and shop online, so thanks too for potentially reducing my footfall....again! 

 

If you really wanted to benefit all those potential buyers on your website why not encourage more cars to be advertised? It would be really easy. Instead of having under 500k cars on the website, aim for a million! And here’s the easy way to do it … Half your prices! Easy isn’t it? 

 

You have conditioned me over the years to advertise cars a certain way, with certain terms and even certain ways of taking photos and at one point you even told me that I should be rounding the prices up or down so to appear in the search on your website! You quite easily have moved the searches to include these. You even asked me to pay extra to highlight these then and then when you have my money, you go to my neighbour and say you pay ‘X’ amount more and we can highlight your cars before your neighbours!!! Where’s the loyalty there?

 

And while I’m at it, why are you jumping into bed with Zuto Loans? You know that I need the commission from the Finance Deal to try and make the deal pay, especially with reduced margin at the deal because you are advising them of part exchange figures and suggesting that I have priced a car too high! 

 

You won’t be doing that for nothing I fear, no. You will be pocketing that lovely wee finance referral without having to even register with the FCA. So now that you are also referring GAP products would you like to go the whole hog and get the ‘DiamondBrite' out?

 

Not content with telling me how to sell cars, you are now suggesting that I don’t know how to buy cars unless I have the all encompassing ‘icontrol. 

 

I’ve done very well over the years without the need for such a tool, my decisions are based on years of experience of buying and selling cars in my area, so there’s a good chance that I would know better. And what’s this rubbish about when I’m buying I should be looking at retail price and calculate back instead of the traditional guide price and add the margin on? It’s not that I don’t understand what you mean - in fact I have been doing it for years too but listen here, buying and selling is quite simple. You buy at the cheapest and sell and the most you feel that a customer will pay - then add in the value for money, great customer care, vehicle prep, warranty, overheads and back-up. We have been doing this for years so don’t really need you trying to make out its something new! Oh, and by the way, have you ever thought about this … if you are telling every dealer in the country to buy that ‘white Audi A4 Quattro’ (as it will sell quickest and give you the best profit margin). Guess what ... the demand has just gone up along with the buying price yet the margin is now smaller because every dealer want’s it. 

 

Simple isn’t it?

 

So I’m at my wit’s end. I’m paying you more a month than what I’m making in profit. There is something far, far wrong.

 

You need to change your ways very quickly or I’m off and you won’t manage to get me back with some gesture of false loyalty like ‘half price stock’ for a limited period. 

 

A relationship is a two way thing. Both partners have to be loyal, caring, honest, trustworthy and unselfish for it to continue. Although I have written this letter I do feel that it will fall on deaf ears, but remember there are many other letters like this one written yet unsent sitting on many a car dealers desk all over the UK.

 

I have years of experience at the coal face of the motor trade and don’t need some graduate who has never sold a car in their life patronising me and telling me how to run my business. All I want from you is for you to treat me with the respect I deserve and help me sell more cars. I’m not an overly demanding partner.

 

Now here’s the twist though. I’m already your ex-lover. 

 

I am writing this letter on behalf of the great friends I have in this beloved industry who are feeling this way. They are currently still with you although I fear not for long. With so many offerings on the table it won’t be long before you will be writing a ‘please come back letter, I’m sorry' to my friends.

 

I, along with thousands of car dealers in the UK, are looking forward to your public reply.

 

Kind regards

 

Jim Reid

Car Dealer Magazines 'Dealer's Dealer of the Year' in support of and on behalf of the Car Dealers on TCD Forum

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Brilliant

oh and this paragraph says it all in my opinion

I have years of experience at the coal face of the motor trade and don’t need some graduate who has never sold a car in their life patronising me and telling me how to run my business. All I want from you is for you to treat me with the respect I deserve and help me sell more cars. I’m not an overly demanding partner.

 

but then its never going to go back to how it was,i still think of yellow pages and just hope the same happens to them in digital heaven

 

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Nice one Jim, well said. 

The only way AT will change their ways is when thier profits start to go down , traders need to walk away from them , we left them 3 years ago due to their extortionate prices and are doing ok .

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Other than world domination do you think it's autotraders aim to become the new cap ? Given we have glasses, parkers and what car pricing of which everyone seems to give some form of random figure who's to say who is right.

i'm not sure how autotrader come to their pricing given I've seen it both under and over cap figures, it seems to suggest the part ex price is the average trade price, how it works this out I have no idea. I can see that the average retail price they can work out given than most cars are listed on their site. The trouble is while 50 dealers could stop using them it's not going to make a difference because main franchises will still use autotrader even though they have their own websites and approved used programs.

it needs someone to take on Autotrader but given that some have tried and failed it's going to take deep pockets and lots of marketing, even then they still have brand presence. It needs someone like eBay or Amazon to take them on, however would someone like Amazon be any better ? They seem to screw the middleman too. 

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I've just had an hour-long chat with my rep about this (amongst other things) and she trotted out all the old lines "it's the start of a conversation" etc.

It's falling on deaf ears because they're only interested in key accounts . My  10 cars won't make the slightest difference to them.

But if the big dealer groups made some noise they'd listen. And do deals that simply aren't available to us. It's bad enough that we have to pay extra just to appear in a useful position (try being on a basic package and searching for your cars from a mobile!!).

I'm ranting incoherently so I'll shut up now.

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Very interesting, so did I hear Jim correctly?, AutoTrader are now entering the cash for cars market, they'll be buying our part exchanges and selling them back to us through auctions???????

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Are they? Who will auction them off not BCA or Manheim surely as they have their own. 

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