Used car dealership Car Quay is trying to continue using the lessons learned during lockdowns now the showroom doors are open again.
Taking deposits in advance of visiting the dealership and letting customers enjoy unaccompanied test drives are just two of the things that worked during lockdowns that the award winning used car dealership is looking to continue.
Speaking to the Car Dealer Podcast, bosses Jamie Caple and Craig Vladimirovs explained that they actually preferred some of the ways they were forced to operate during the lockdowns.
‘To some extent we’ve kept the front door locked,’ Vladimirovs told a special edition of the Car Dealer Podcast.
‘People are welcome in, obviously, but we’re not advertising that fact.
‘We’re taking enquiries in the same way as we did during lockdown. We want people to reserve and essentially click and collect or have it delivered.
‘That does give us a bit more time as a team to get more cars out. We are getting the odd person through the door but it’s not gone mad.’
The dealership has enjoyed an ‘incredibly strong’ start to the year as used car buyers have continued to head to the market.
Caple said: ‘Business will be a fusion of before and now. I think consumer buying habits have changed themselves during Covid.
‘We’re still doing a lot of reserve, appointments and deliveries, but some people are drifting on.
‘We thought we might be strict and say to customers if you’re not going to play by this way of doing it [deposit before visiting], then you’re not coming in, but if there’s another garage that will let them test drive without a deposit they may go there and we want their business so we will do what the customer wants.
‘But we will try to encourage them to do it our way.’
Caple said it can be a little frustrating spending time with people who are not intent on purchasing but admitted that’s car sales.
During the special edition Podcast, the Car Quay pair team up with host Rebecca Chaplin and editor-in-chief James Baggott to play a new version of our weekly news quiz.
As part of the quiz Caple and Vladimirovs give their opinion on Tesla buyers – and explain how one who bought a Model X wouldn’t leave them alone – as well as give their opinions on Cazoo, CarShop owner Penske Automotive’s record profit.
Car Quay – which won a Used Car Award in January – has continued with unaccompanied test drives too as the pair think it works better for them – and gives them time to deal with other customers.
Caple said: ‘All customers are welcome to test drive on their own, our insurance allows that.
‘More often than not people are happy and they buy it.
‘With the increased volumes we are doing it gives us more time. Someone going on a test drive buys us time that we wouldn’t otherwise have and allows us to deal with other customers.’
Vladimirovs added: ‘If you get a couple to go together they deal each other up. Usually one wants it and the other doesn’t but give them some time together in the car and they do the job for you.
‘If you are there too they don’t come out with their objections as perhaps they’re being polite.’
You can listen to the Podcast in the player above or search for ‘Car Dealer Podcast’ on your favourite platform including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.