High interest rates and falling retail prices were to blame for demise of SUV Prestige – boss

  • SUV Prestige boss speaks out, six months on from sudden collapse of the premium car dealership
  • Steve Dhesi says high interest rates and falling retail prices led to dramatic closure of the business
  • He also points to slump in customer demand and lower margins
  • Former dealer principle says he remains proud of company’s ‘groundbreaking standards’

Time 8:38 am, July 2, 2024

High interest rates and a fall in retail prices were the reason for the sudden collapse of award-winning car dealership SUV Prestige.

That is according to the firm’s boss, Steve Dhesi, who says that ‘increased borrowing costs’ created strain, from which the company could not recover.

The Wetherby-based business was one of the largest independent prestige car dealerships in the UK, stocking up to 300 high-end sports and luxury vehicles, as well as 4x4s.

Run by Dhesi and his wife Satinda, the company enjoyed a rapid rise and the pair won Dealer Principal of the Year at the 2022 and 2023 Car Dealer Used Car Awards respectively.

However, back in January the firm dramatically announced its immediate closure as a result of ‘difficult trading conditions’.

Dhesi has now told Car Dealer that the business was suffering from cash flow issues which stemmed from lower margins and a slump in customer demand.

He added that despite the abrupt ending, he remains proud of SUV Prestige’s ‘groundbreaking standards’ and paid tribute to his former employees.

‘We experienced a period of difficulty arising from high interest rates affecting both customer demand as well as impacting on increased borrowing costs to the company,’ Dhesi told Car Dealer.

‘This was further impacted by a fall in retail prices and ultimately lower margins on vehicles which had negative impact on cash flow.

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‘We were hoping to reach an amicable agreement with our suppliers and partners but unfortunately things came to a dramatic end which ultimately led to us having to make the team redundant.

‘We wish to empathise the amazing team we had built over a period of years and are still very proud of the groundbreaking standards we set in the industry.

‘We are extremely sad we were not able to continue to trade.’

The news that SUV Prestige was closing – just two months after glory at the 2023 Used Car Awards – came as a shock to many, after the company had developed into one of the most-watched names in the industry.

Back in 2022, Steve told Car Dealer how a change in business model had kickstarted the business.

He said that a shift in focus towards high end models during the pandemic resulted in profits rising by over 1,500 per cent, while maintaining its original volume of around 100 cars per month.

The change of approach also allowed the business to invest heavily in a state-of-the-art new site but, sadly, things came crashing down earlier this year.

Throughout the history of SUV Prestige, both Steve and Satinda were vocal about their employee-centric approach and helped to find new jobs for their staff upon the closure of the premium dealership.

The move was typical of the husband and wife team, who were often prepared to go the extra mile, as shown by the firm’s expedition to deliver cars and donations to Lviv, Ukraine, in February 2023.

The business also won our Best Used Car Online Sales Experience at the 2022 Used Car Awards.

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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