Slaters Motor Group has opened an 80-vehicle showroom in Sunderland as part of the RAC Approved Dealer network.
The family-run sales outfit was launched 18 months ago as an expansion to Wearside Auto Centre, which was formerly Sunderland Tyre & Exhaust Centre and is the city’s largest independent garage.
Group director Mark Slater said: ‘With our many years of experience in the motor industry through our workshop background, we felt that we could bring a large amount of expertise to the used car retail sector and provide vehicles that represented value and quality.
‘It seemed like an obvious move, given our existing skillset.
‘That belief has proved to be correct and the business has performed very well since its launch, especially considering that most of our trading to date has been during the pandemic with lockdown conditions often in effect.
‘Sales started briskly and have continued to increase from that point.’
Only a few cars were offered at the auto centre site at first, but its rapid success prompted the move to the new showroom a few hundred yards away.
The Slaters Motor Group brand was created at the same time, and the business decided to become an RAC Approved Dealer.
Slater added: ‘Our proposition is really very simple – we sell the best cars that we can so that our customers are completely satisfied with their purchases.
‘To further this, we offer 12 months of RAC warranty with every vehicle for added customer confidence.
‘Our reputation continues to grow because of that approach, and this is reinforced by the fact that we have no negative reviews online because we resolve any issues in the few instances that they arise.
‘This is a way of doing business that fits in exactly with becoming an RAC Approved Dealer.
‘It’s an initiative designed for used car retailers like us who want to work to the highest standards and are given the rights to use the RAC brand in their marketing as a result.
‘What the warranty and RAC name does is create a high element of trust and comfort for the buyer.’
Kellie Grocott, RAC director of sales at Assurant, which partners with the RAC in the warranty and aftersales sector, said: ‘The RAC Approved Dealer programme could have been created especially for a dealer like Slaters Motor Group.
‘It helps those retailers who work to the very highest standards to maximise the marketing benefits of their commitment to quality.
‘The success that Mark and his team, many of whom are members of the Slater family who work within the business, have found over the past 18 months is testament to the effectiveness of putting the customer first.’