Snows Motor Group’s chief operating officer Neil McCue joined Car Dealer Live for an exclusive interview today (Apr 20).
Snows has 50 franchised dealerships and several used car sites across the south, and last year its turnover was £450m.
Since the lockdown, which has seen its showrooms shut, it has furloughed 949 staff, with 74 still working at the business, but McCue chatted about how it was continuing to trade in some areas and his hopes for the future. Five of its service centres are open for emergency services and key workers.
The Car Dealer Live interview – which you can see by clicking on the main image above – proved to be a revealing insight into how the group has coped with the coronavirus crisis, as well as highlighting the positive steps the firm was taking to get back in business as soon as possible.
McCue commented on how resilient the motor trade is, and said: ‘We’ve got to roll our sleeves up and get on with it. We’ve faced many, many challenges over the last 20 years that I’ve been working in the business. It’ll be a very different business when we come back but we’ve got to get on with it, simple as that.’
He was circumspect about how long it would take for Snows to get back to how it was a few months ago, but reckoned how people wanted to interact with dealerships would change. ‘The industry has to have a really good look at itself to see what we can do to make transactions a lot easier.’
And he told how Snows was uncomfortable about delivering vehicles as there were ‘so many pieces to the puzzle’ so wouldn’t be delivering any until it had government guidance in black and white.
The group is, however, considering alternatives, such as click and collect in a thoroughly sterile environment, sending the customer a video explaining the controls.
He highlighted how hard Snows had been working over the past week to improve its online presence, having seen website traffic plummet by some 90 per cent in the two weeks after lockdown, but had since noticed a big increase, selling more cars last week than it did in the previous five.
It’s also ensuring that its digital ‘shop window’ is as good as possible, getting senior management to really work on the descriptions of its used cars
Looking ahead, he said Snows would have to adapt its business model to ensure that it can generate the revenue that it needed. ‘Our business is going to change forever – there’s no doubt about that. And we’ve got to adapt with that as quickly as possible, and we’ve got an appetite to do it.’
A PPE working party has been set up within the group, too, and it could see the introduction of measures such as plastic screens at service counters and sales desks, floor matting, masks, hazmat suits and the widespread use of disinfectant when its dealerships reopen, with May 11 pencilled in at the moment.
And McCue rounded off the interview with a special message to Snows staff, saying: ‘I hope you’re all well and your families are OK. We’re thinking of you, we miss you, it’s really weird to come to work and have empty showrooms, but rest assured we’re doing everything we can to keep our business strong, and we look forward to seeing you all back sooner rather than later, and we’re working hard to make sure that you come back to a safe working environment that we can get back to enjoying again.’
Car Dealer Live – which takes place at midday every weekday – will have even more great guests this week:
- Tuesday, April 21 Heycar chief commercial officer Karen Hilton and Pentagon Group head of marketing Jonathan Lingham
- Wednesday, April 22 Kia UK aftersales director Chris Lear and sales director Steve Hicks
- Thursday, April 23 Perrys MD Darren Ardron
- Friday, April 24 Peter Vardy Ltd’s Peter Vardy
If you have any questions you’d like to ask any of the above you can submit them live during the broadcasts or you can send them to us via this website, or our social media channels including Twitter and LinkedIn.
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