The first episode of the fly-on-the-wall series took viewers behind the scenes of the Essex Car Company in Rainham, Essex, last night. It followed a team of witty, not to mention confident, salesmen as they attempted to sell everything from budget Seat Ibizas to £20,000+ Range Rovers.
Generally a good-humoured affair, there were plenty of smiles and laughter from almost everyone involved, in particular the undoubted star of the show, super-salesman James, who with his winning way with words and cheeky grin was shifting more than 30 cars a month.
However, some viewers didn’t approve of the behaviour of those caught on camera, as the press and ‘tweeters’ described their sales tactics as ‘uncompromising’ and ‘manipulative’.
This morning, newspapers were keen to have their say about Essex-based business and the team’s negotiating methods.
One reviewer referred to the first episode of the three-part series as ‘a nostalgic trip to mouth-and-trousers men’ and another as ‘a vehicle for schadenfreude’.
On the other hand, The Guardian rated it four stars and said: ‘You can learn a lot about selling from James, the lion of the Essex Car Company forecourt.’
The show was a strong reminder to viewers that even in this day and age, in which many customers buy online and use customer comparison sites to choose their next vehicle, showrooms are still very much in business, with staff looking to secure as many deals as possible.
Here’s what Twitter thought:
‘Was the CH4 Series #thedealership part of the “Life on Mars” Series? As it was like turning the clock back to the 70’s.’
Philip Nothard @PhilipN_CAP
‘Is it for real? Another programme depicting a poor image to the consumer!!!’
Ashley Proniewicz @ashpron
‘So wrong! You need to be polite, considerate, knowledgable etc not a rip off merchant! Teaching that trainee all wrong habits #thedealership’
Klodjan Alushani @KAlushani
‘Not all us car dealers are the same! #thedealership’
Here’s what the press thought:
The Guardian: ‘You learn more in one episode than in nine series of The Apprentice.’
The Telegraph: ‘Channel 4’s The Dealership showed the loquacious charms of an Essex wheeler dealer.’
Metro: ‘The Dealership was a nostalgic trip to mouth-and-trousers men.’
The Daily Mail: ‘He couldn’t sell a bucket of water to a bloke in burning trousers.’