Otter Motors: We’re doing our best and planning for life after coronavirus

Time 2:24 pm, March 24, 2020

‘All we can do is the best we can’ – it’s not a bad motto at the best of times, and certainly applies during the coronavirus crisis.

It’s also the approach one Devon dealer – Tom Cook, director of Otter Motors in Ottery St Mary near Exeter – is taking with his business.

Tom, pictured above, was still opening the doors to his dealership when we spoke to him yesterday – while emphasising his number-one priority is the safety and well-being of staff and customers.

And in a statement on the business’s website, Otter Motors explains the straightforward process it operates for anyone who would like to buy a used car from them but would prefer not to visit in person.

It involves a conversation about the car a customer is interested in; a video assessment of the vehicle which can last up to 10 minutes; and free delivery anywhere in the UK – quite an undertaking for a business based firmly in the south-west of England!

With footfall down, the system will no doubt help Otter Motors, a BMW and Mini specialist and a previous Used Car Award winner, survive the current turmoil.

Tom told us yesterday: ‘It has been quiet, there’s no doubt about that. We are still here, still making the odd sale, but footfall has almost ceased to exist.

‘We’re just keeping ourselves busy. At any dealership, even if you aren’t physically selling cars, there’s always something to do, whether it’s cleaning, valeting, prepping or just general site work.

‘Sales have slowed down but we’re trying to overcome as many obstacles as we can that might stand in the way of the customer and their desire to purchase a car.

‘It’s a good time to work out what the plan will be once coronavirus is behind us. We sold a few over the weekend, so they all need MOT-ing, servicing and delivering.

‘We’re just trying to be as transparent as we can with the processes we have put in place. Let’s hope we see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.

‘Business had been going very well up until about a week ago and then it tailed off – but that’s to be expected. The coronavirus outbreak is a worldwide event, so at least we’re all in it together – it’s not a question of one business suffering and everybody else doing well.

‘It is what it is. All we can do is the best we can – it’s as simple as that.’

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Dave Brown's avatar

Dave, production editor on Car Dealer Magazine, is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience in the worlds of newspapers, magazines and public relations.

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