Dan Kirby – owner of Trade Price Cars in Essex – has been ‘encouraged’ by the response from customers in the first week back in showrooms and said that he has even put some car prices up.
His comments on Car Dealer Live echo the sentiments of other car dealers appearing on the show recently and eBay Motors Group who reported that on the 50 most popular it had seen prices rise by 0.7 per cent from independent dealers.
The dealer also admitted he had traded out of some cars to reduce liability, but said that on the whole he was seeing demand at near pre-lockdown levels.
Kirby said: ‘At the start of lockdown I was concerned, I really was. We hold a lot of stock and I was running the numbers in my head and thinking if the stock value goes down 15 to 20 per cent it’s going to cost me so much overnight.
‘We did trade out of some bits just to reduce the liability and exposure to what we did have in stock, but from what I’ve heard some CAP values are going up.
‘We’ve been buying some bits from BCA and Manheim and we’re having to pay sensible prices for it. We’re not nicking stuff for £1,000s behind book. We might get one out of 10 that we have a bit of a result on but most of the stuff is making sensible money.’
He added: ‘Given that demand is going to outstrip supply currently, I don’t think anyone needs to worry. I would definitely, definitely not be slashing prices. There’s completely no need to do it.
‘We’ve had a very busy week. We’ve actually upped the prices of a few bits where the market has moved a little bit. We’ve been pricing according to the market and where we were pre-lockdown.’
When the lockdown was announced, he had already decided earlier that day he would shut Trade Price Cars as part of a ‘duty to the nation, our families and our employees’.
Kirby also owns Octane Finance, which he said he launched to support other car dealers, and this company is also seeing an uplift in demand since showrooms were allowed to open again.
‘Every dealer I speak to is busy,’ he said.
‘At Octane Finance we have 250 supporting dealers and they’re all very busy, and, believe it or not, we could get close to having a record month if things carry on.’
On the show, the Trade Price Cars boss also talked about the difficult lockdown period, where all of his 45 staff were furloughed but he is still yet to receive a penny of the government’s funding towards this.
He explained that it was ‘like going back to the start when it was just me’ but added that there were lots of positives to come from the lockdown.
He said: ‘We’re a bit more appreciative with work and the time with our families is even more precious.’
Kirby had words of warning for other dealers though, saying: ‘We need to be honest with ourselves. Certainly, the economic pinch hasn’t hit us yet. We’re all enjoying the government grants but we need to accept the fact that times might get harder.’
Watch the interview in full now by clicking play at the top of this page.
- Want breaking news sent direct to your phone? Join our WhatsApp group. It is broadcast only, no chit chat, and delivers Car Dealer headlines to you as and when they happen. Send us a message here and ask to join, and we’ll send you a link.
- Download the latest digital edition of Car Dealer Magazine Issue 147 for free here.