It’s not every day something revolutionary comes along in the warranty sector, but WMS might have done just that. JAMES BATCHELOR investigates
Billing a product as the ultimate used car warranty is a bold claim, you would agree? It’s not only a brave statement but also one that is impossible to make, surely? WMS’ Eric Stone would reply with a firm ‘no’ as the new Safe&Sound warranty from WMS is called just that – ‘the ultimate used car warranty.’
In essence Safe&Sound is a warranty provided by dealers handpicked by WMS who share WMS’ high quality working practices. It’s called Safe&Sound for a reason as it promotes a safe car and a sound investment, and it’s very much the new, definitive warranty that dealers and customers will want – that’s why it’s the definitive used car warranty.
It’s a seven element package which has been put together on how and why customers buy cars, and how they make their decisions.
Safety is the most important concern of any buyer, and that’s why it is the first element in the 60-point safety inspection. This covers all of the elements that are needed for that car to have an MOT. ‘Crucially, the dealers can carry out the inspection report in their own way and in their own workshops, but it will be policed by our underwriters – AmTrust – who will visit the dealer on a six-monthly basis to check that the dealer complies with a all the requirements of the Safe&Sound scheme,’ explains Stone.
The checklist covers all of the basics – is there enough tread on the tyres? Do the headlamps work? It might be basic but by it being part of one large package the safety check gives the customer added reassurance, and adds power and weight to the car on the part of the dealer. The dealer signs it too, so it just gives the customer the guarantee that this car is SAFE.
Hot on the heels of the safety check is the second and third elements of Safe&Sound – the providence and HPI check. It’s your normal affair of checking that the mileage is correct, there is not outstanding finance on the car, the VIN number is the same in the log book as it is on the chassis – the verification of the car. But having both the safety inspection and the providence check in front of the customer on signed papers makes them feel just that little easier about buying the car – they know it’s safe and it’s what it says it is.
The fourth part of Safe&Sound is the warranty – and this is the element that really makes Safe&Sound the ultimate offering. It’s a six-month affair that covers all mechanical and electrical failures (naturally excluding consumable items), but the ultimate part of the warranty is that it covers wear and tear. ‘This is exceptional in the industry,’ says Stone. ‘It covers vehicles up to six years old and 60,000 miles at the policy’s inception but the customer can still drive that vehicle up to 85,000 miles and we will still pay the claims for wear and tear. Included in this is a six-month rescue and recovery package,’ says Stone – and this is the fifth element of Safe&Sound.
‘This has three elements: home start, roadside assistance, and recovery,’ explains Stone. ‘So now the customer is really building up some safe and sound opportunites with the vehicle – the customer now knows the car is safe to own, the mileage is accurate, it hasn’t been written off, they’ve got a great warranty, and they’ve got recovery too. These are ticking all of the boxes that the customer likes.’
But what is in it for the dealer? Stone replies: ‘Simply, this is a unique scheme. It will only be offered to around 300 dealers as we are trying to build a special network of Safe&Sound dealers.’ Think of it as a club; 300 dealers will be part of the Safe&Sound network ensuring that dealers are working together to supply cars to like-minded customers.
If your maths is up to scratch, you’ll realise that by this point there are only two parts of Safe&Sound left.
Element six is an independent valuation of the car carried out by Used Car Expert. It’s a name that is recognised and trusted by consumers, and in the Safe&Sound scheme it provides an independent valuation of the car the customer is buying. ‘This doesn’t give the feeling to the customer that they’re buying a bargain,’ says Stone. ‘But it does give them the knowledge that they are buying fairly – they are not being ripped off.’ Safe&Sound dealers also receive a Used Car Expert certificate which they can hang on the wall proving they offer customers ‘fair’ prices for their cars in-line with Used Car Expert.
‘I often get approached to put my name to products and services but when I was introduced to Safe&Sound, I knew this was something valuable for the consumer.’
Sir Stirling Moss
A Safe&Sound certificate signed by Stone will also be given to dealers so they can nail both certificates to their office wall; the eye-catching pieces of paper not only look good but they give customers the added reassurance that they are not being treated badly by the dealer. Also, it helps in the long term helping to keep customers returning to your door in the future.
And the last element is the dealer promise. ‘It’s a buy-back guarantee,’ explains Stone. ‘It’s what dealers do anyway, but the promise makes sure that the dealer buys back the car if it is offered in a part exchange regardless of age or condition.’
With such a great package available for both dealers and customers, you need great marketing. Dealers who sign up to scheme will be part of the Safe&Sound name which means they’ll be searchable on the Safe&Sound website, they will have colourful point-of-sale merchandise to show off in their dealerships.
Even Sir Stirling Moss has agreed to lend his voice and face to radio, television and real-estate marketing activities.
‘I often get approached to put my name to products and services but when I was introduced to Safe&Sound, I knew this was something that was valuable for the consumer,’ says Moss. ‘A car warranty product that goes further and adds value – a product that is good for the car buyer and good for the industry. We all know buying a car is a big decision and this product brings with it peace of mind – removing those niggling doubts about safety, car history, real mileage and even if you’re paying a fair price. I am pleased to have my name associated with Safe&Sound; it’s a winning product for motorists in the UK.’ With an endorsement like that, Safe&Sound could be just the package for you.
For details call Eric Stone on 07789 682 502 or click here for more