A scrappage scheme would not be the right move by the government for independent dealers, said Simon Webb, the owner of Langley Prestige in Essex.
He appeared on Car Dealer Live on May 7, where he said: ‘I’m certainly not an advocate of the scrappage scheme, but that’s as an independent who’d miss out on part-exchanges or push people to go new rather than used.’
However, Webb was optimistic about changing attitudes to mobility, predicting that consumer fear of public transport could mean more people buying a second car. Already he has seen inquiries increase to pre-lockdown levels and he’s taken three deposits during the shutdown period, but they aren’t delivering them yet.
As an appointment-only business, Langley Prestige was already in a good position when it was forced to close the doors. Webb explained that it was able to continue running the business in largely the same way but that it’s forced some changes.
‘It’s made us look at the business in a different way. We’re doing personalised videos to build confidence in our cars,’ he said.
Webb explained on the show that it had cut a lot of costs at the end of last year, which turned out to be an added benefit going into lockdown.
With inquiries up, Webb has spotted that the number of low offers are up too, and there’s been more attention on lower priced stock. He said: ‘The inquiries on our £3-10k stock has been the main focus. We’re already seeing there’s an appetite in the market for that. That’s definitely where we’re seeing an increase in views and leads.
‘I don’t think there’s any reason to panic. I think we need to stay strong on our prices. We’re getting a lot of low-ball offers at the moment but we’re also getting a lot of strong leads.
‘We’re on a pause rather than anything else. When we press play again we need to hope the values stay strong. I’ve not seen any indication in my business that demand has dropped.’
When asked how he deals with these low offers, he quoted a post in the Car Dealer Forum: ‘We don’t have to sell to every customer but we do need to sell every car.’
Webb was positive about the future, saying that keeping prices up was a case of ‘believing in your product and its preparation’ and that wholesale demand was still strong.
To watch the interview in full, click play on the video at the top of this page.
Coming up next week on Car Dealer Live we have:
- Monday Vincent Tourette, MD, Groupe Renault UK & Ireland; Louise O’Sullivan, network operations director
- Tuesday Wessex Garages MD Chris Wiseman
- Wednesday Mike Allen, analyst at Zeus Capital
- Thursday Sherwoods Motor Group MD Simon MacConachie
- Friday GForces: The things you’ll never think about when selling cars online – but should
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.