AM News Show: Franchise car retail must find new ‘middle ground’

Franchised car retail must find new “middle ground” to maintain profitability and high levels of customer service when the vehicle supply crisis finally ends, AM News Show said.

On the latest edition of the popular podcast, Arbury Motor Group Managing Director Ben Archer joined Umesh Samani, IMDA Co-Founder and Owner of Specialist Cars, AM Editor Tim Rose and Editor Tom Sharpe Head of News and Features, in the Armchair Marketing Studio.

The arrival of new cars with missing tech features, mounting pressure on consumer spending, and a slowing new car market were all discussed in the episode.

But, as Arbury Group continues the battle to satisfy its customers despite long lead times and spec discrepancies, Archer said it doesn’t want to go back to where the market was before COVID.

“I hope we don’t go back to this wholesale,” said the boss of Bromsgrove-based AM100 Abarth, Citroën, Fiat, Nissan, Peugeot, Seat and Skoda retailer.

“There is a happy medium to be had. There is somewhere in between, we can operate efficiently, making good margins and taking care of the customer in the right amount of time.

Archer was featured in a recent AM News article that investigated the impact of recent supply shortages on the new and used car sector.

In it, in quotes from the AM News Show, he revealed that a customer, a wheelchair user, was told that the car awaiting delivery would come without the required electric start mechanism, which would make it unfit for use.

“It’s a huge problem from a customer experience perspective,” he said.

Samani suggested that car traders will need to be careful when stocking their forecourts in two or three years.

“The problem is that it’s a constant thing. It continues now, but it’s only going to get worse,” he said.

“Some dealers are uneducated, they rely on data these days, but they’re going to have to get back to basics.”

Produced in association with Armchair Marketing, the AM News Show is now available via Youtube, with an episode catalog accessible via AM Online here.