A lack of consistency in the used car market means dealers need to think up new ways to provide customers with variety.
That is the verdict of Blackshaws boss, Will Blackshaw, who says up-and-down market conditions have made life tough for dealers throughout 2023.
Appearing on the latest episode of the Car Dealer Podcast, sponsored by JATO, Blackshaw reflected on what has been a turbulent year for the industry.
He told hosts Jon Raey and Becca Chaplin that despite the ever-changing nature of 2023, his family-run outfit had managed to ride the storm well.
He said: ‘Surprisingly this year has been very good overall.
‘I do think the problem we have though is that we don’t seem to have consistency in the game anymore.
‘We had a very very strong August. It was then an okay September but it wasn’t a September like September should be. October was then sadly a bit slow, November finished very well and December is tracking okay.
‘We’re like “what’s going on?”. We’re trying to understand it but its now at a point where its coming toward the end of the year so I need to stop worrying about it and start focusing on next year.’
During a lengthy chat at the start of the Podcast, Blackshaw also explained how Covid changed the way his dealer group conducts business.
Blackshaws dates back over 100 years but the pandemic forced bosses to take a new approach.
The firm is now taking on older stock from brands other than MG and Suzuki, with whom it has franchise agreements.
He added: ‘Pre-Covid, as a business, we wouldn’t sell anything non franchise to us. If it didn’t have one of our badges, it would go straight into a trade section and off it went.
‘Anything slightly older – over four year old, or maybe 40,000 mile plus – that wasn’t our stock profile.
‘We then had to start selling stuff like that because we couldn’t get the new stock and now we’re trying to also keep that going as well as our traditional new car sales.
‘Obviously, there’s a bit of a gap at the minute with nearly new cars so we try to do there see a bit of everything and I think because of our geographical location, it’s good to have as much variety as possible.
‘I’m sitting there thinking “What have we done this year?” and suddenly looking back we’ve built another workshop to to handle older vehicle parts and see more vehicles come in.
‘Valuation of vehicles is so inconsistent so we build a new reporting system on that so that we can see changes of prices of cars overnight.’
He added: Our service and MOT reminder system? We’ve re honed that to target specific emails to specific car users as opposed to this sort of general one that advertises everything.
‘We’ve also extended our forecourt to have more cars on display so it actually has been quite a busy year, which is probably why I’m tired.
‘We’re working very hard, put it that way.’
Other topics up for discussion during the podcast were Alex Chesterman’s departure from Cazoo, plumetting used car prices and job losses at Lookers.
You can listen to the full episode below.