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Pendragon U-turns on CarStore name and launches hybrid approach to used car sales

  • Pendragon announces new strategy for the CarStore name that focuses on the customer
  • It says there will be no more ‘hard sell’ and will instead focus on speaking in a language customers can understand
  • CEO Bill Berman previously told Car Dealer he hated the name and would never choose it for the business

Time 2 weeks ago

A little more than a year on since Pendragon CEO Bill Berman said he ‘hated’ the name CarStore and that it would be the last one he’d choose, the business is relaunching its used car operations with exactly the same label. 

It revealed that there will now be a phased rollout of CarStore centres across the country throughout 2022 with a new ‘customer-centric proposition’.

Research by the dealer group found that only 12 per cent of car buyers wanted to purchase without any personal interaction.

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The survey, which was undertaken in May 2021 and spoke to 1,463 UK car owners aged 25 to 59, found that customers at least wanted the option to be able to speak to a person if they needed to.

Pendragon says it wants to put the customer at the centre of the process, and will now be using personal advisers rather than sales people. Customers will be able to access these advisers in dealerships, online or on the phone.

It added that it’ll be ‘forgoing the hard sell’, and instead will speak truthfully and in a language customers can understand.

The brand previously sat under the Evans Halshaw group but was scrapped in 2020 when a new strategy was unveiled to Pendragon investors.

In September, it then announced that it would be using ZenCar as the name for used car sales.

However, a Pendragon spokesman told Car Dealer today (Jan 11) that after extensive category and consumer research, the name wasn’t now going to be used, and that it would be sticking with the CarStore moniker, as it was an established brand name in its portfolio.

Bill Berman, Pendragon CEO, said: ‘The launch of this new CarStore proposition represents a fresh, new era for automotive retail, with a bold, hybrid approach.

‘By offering this flexibility and acting as personal advisers, rather than salespeople, we aim to stand out in the category by truly putting our customers first.’

He added: ‘As an industry, we need to recognise that our customers are ever-evolving and we need to evolve with them.

‘The industry heritage, expertise and experience that has already been established by our dedicated and experienced CarStore teams, coupled with this new proposition, will enable us to empower each of our customers to make their own informed decisions at a pace and in a way that best suits their needs.’

Image credit: Google Maps

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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