Well there’s a shock – good news on the horizon, and
all that piffle; the marketing people have finally decided used
cars are good news. Needless to say, the numbers of used cars being
sold – and being sold on finance to boot – is on the up.
The thing is, dear reader,
the sale of used cars is up because people – as ever – actually
want to buy them. Now I’m sorry if that comment seems arrogant or
derisory, but I have remained passionate about used cars since
coming into the industry in 1984, and since then I have spent many
years with colleagues and peers telling me the new car job is the
only one that counts, and that used cars are so passé.
The simple fact is, car
buyers fall into three distinct categories: those that,
(particularly in these uncertain times) ‘hang on to the old smoker
a while longer’; those that ‘will change when the readies are in
place’; and those that ‘just want to change now, before the gearbox
To all these buyers, motor
finance is – after so many years of half-regulation,
self-regulation, bad headlines, stereotypes and adverse PR –
suddenly a very professional route to fund a vehicle purchase.
Customers are in car showrooms right now, being pleasantly
surprised at how clear, concise and professional their sales
advisers are being about their new proposed finance contract thanks
to the CCD.
So looking at those three
categories again, may I humbly suggest that all three customer
types are actually all keen to get their car changed – all they
need is the right encouragement.
As an industry, we need to
communicate effectively with our customers and our introducers. We
need to let those prospects in category one know there is an
excellent way, and therefore a sound and eminently sensible reason
to change now.
Those in category two may be
struggling to save enough to change vehicle, and with occasional
maintenance and repair costs regularly setting them back, may never
actually get there.
Category three are the
traditional finance captives that need to be protected, loved up,
and dealt to.
But as an industry we’re not
very good at educating people, are we? In fact we are – in the
vernacular – pants at it. A whole industry of doom-mongers, panic
merchants and consultants (yes, the c-word) has evolved around our
inability to get the message across from legislation, through
compliance, and into the commercial environs of the showrooms of
our introducers. That is our fault.
We wonder why ‘personalities’
like Martin Lewis are so popular. Simply put, he imparts knowledge,
and this empowers people to take action – something we should be
I have a client at the moment
in the used business that has embraced the ‘new’ compliant regime.
Their people are trained on the commercial aspects of the
revisions, and they are making money at the expense of all those
glass palace franchised dealers in the vicinity.
Look closely at your introducers, those businesses you may
traditionally have dismissed as ‘not right’, and be prepared for a
paradigm change – used is the new new.