Dealers have their say after being warned that used car disruptors could steal their trade if they don’t change

  • Reactions flood in following our exclusive opinion piece by Freeserve founder
  • Dealers have plenty to say about the topic
  • Comments reveal depth of feeling within the industry

Time 8:30 am, February 19, 2022

Our exclusive in which Freeserve founder Ajaz Ahmed warned dealers to embrace change or else face used car disruptors such as Cazoo, Cinch and Carzam stealing their customers certainly hit a nerve.

Reactions came flooding in on LinkedIn, Twitter and email immediately after the article was published yesterday (Feb 18).

Here, we present a selection of them…

It’s not always about the money

There are a few simple facts he has overlooked.

The used car trade’s aftersales business sector is totally different to most retail businesses.

Purchasers will not have peace of mind if they have to take a faulty vehicle to a garage or chain that isn’t directly connected with the establishment that sold the vehicle.

Most people enjoy the direct contact and banter created by generations of deals, creating a lasting bond where both sides become lasting friends.

The personal relationship which evolves is based on warmth and trust.

People who look at life through principles and in the best ways do not assess all purchases on the basis of money.

Yes, they will compare the market, but they will always give their local friendly dealer the priority.

They also know that one day an engine management light will appear and the knowledge that their supplying dealer will always be there for them will be a determining factor.

We already know of many disillusioned Cazoo and Cinch customers.

We at Ceir Cymru recommend passing trade to go back to where they bought their vehicle, and we make it clear to all our customers that their loyalty will be our priority.

The fact that Cazoo shares have collapsed is a financial scandal. Many public sector workers have some of their pension pot in tech share portfolios which include Cazoo.

Here in rural north Wales, we at Ceir Cymru will battle on against the greed of London-based conglomerates, and we will keep on treasuring the finer things in life, which are not always based on financial profits.

Our duty towards our community is much more formidable than Alex Chesterman’s bank account.

Gari Wyn Jones, owner/proprietor, Ceir Cymru

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer

The statement ‘The next big thing’ is banded about a lot… Oh, for the silver bullet!

For me, if you aim to put yourself in the position of optimum potential with the technology (and hope your trusty crystal ball is working), you could well be on to a winner.

You have to take the latest ideas with a pinch of salt. No one solution will fix everything.

Matt Blake, national sales manager, Loopit

Good points – but what action is needed?

He makes some very good points about ‘what could happen’ if we do act.

What I would be interested to know is what course of action he suggests?

Rob Wood, managing director, Beechwood Derby

It’s not all about online

There is another message too. Embrace omnichannel or your financial viability is questionable. It’s not just about online. Digital plus physical.

Andy Goss, chairman, Vertu Motors

How stock is bought needs to change

What needs to change more is how dealers buy their stock. Start at the roots, not the branch.

Craig Robinson, owner, 3 Counties Vehicles

Odds are stacked against dealers

In no other industry would a group be allowed to control aquisition of goods, wholesale supply and retail without some intervention.

Two main companies have this tied up along with other associated products, so dealers are picking at scraps in terms of supply and demand for wholesale vehicles.

Dealers must change to remain relevant but the odds are being stacked against them.

Nick McDonald, co-founder, The Compliance Guys

Blowing like Free Willy

Time will tell. Meanwhile, they’re blowing like Free Willy and their investors’ money isn’t worth what they stumped up.

I’d be more concerned about my own plate than someone else’s if I was them.

Paul Arden, general manager, RRG Group

Retail model clearly works

The model of relative newcomers in the market such as Cazoo and Cinch has changed the way people purchase cars forever, but this only focuses on nearly-new vehicles with an age ratio of approximately five to six years old at most.

For them to enter the lucrative five-to-10-year-old market would be retail suicide, particularly so in the used car business.

A huge percentage of that market cannot afford – nor do they want – the product that these online retailers offer.

However, that’s not to say their retail model doesn’t work; it clearly does.

Mark Robbins, owner, Mark Anthony Prestige

They don’t have the stock depth or range

They don’t have the stock depth or range to impact on the market. Given the projected supply over the next year, that won’t be changing.

Bruce J Beaton, motor trade investor

Customers must be offered what they want

Most dealers have embraced change and quickly adapted. It’s offering customers what they want and not all the hype that every customer wants click-and-deliver.

Some want it, but I believe the majority still prefer the feel, touch, smell, test and the enjoyable ‘buying experience’.

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Umesh Samani, owner, Specialist Cars Stoke

No need to think big straight away

Big-scale changes aren’t needed at once. Simply revisit your online presence and website once a month and see if any minor improvements can be made, thereby always constantly being up to date.

Steve Dhesi, managing director, SUV Prestige

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