5 steps to success for independent dealers

5 steps to success for independent dealers

We were delighted to sponsor Automotive Management’s latest live event November 10th 2022 that included a lively IDMA panel session discussing the top 5 steps to success for independent used car dealers. Phil Williams joined Umesh Samani, Jim Reid and Stuart Saunders to unpick the key challenges facing the industry and examine how independents can position themselves for success.

Phil Williams, Oodle’s chief commercial officer, Umesh Samani, chairman of the IMDA, Jim Reid, MD Jim Reid Vehicle Sales and services and Stuart Saunders, founder & managing director, Urban Car Company.
Phil Williams, Oodle’s chief commercial officer, Umesh Samani, chairman of the IMDA, Jim Reid, MD Jim Reid Vehicle Sales and services and Stuart Saunders, founder & managing director, Urban Car Company.
Phil Williams, Oodle’s chief commercial officer, Umesh Samani, chairman of the IMDA, Jim Reid, MD Jim Reid Vehicle Sales and services and Stuart Saunders, founder & managing director, Urban Car Company.

This well-attended discussion focused on the key challenges facing independent dealers today, with surprising buoyancy. You can watch the full discussion here < AML 2022: Five steps to excel as an independent used car dealer - YouTube >

In the meantime, check-out our key takeaways below:

1. Stock

Stock is an ongoing challenge for the independent motor dealer but adopting a private-first approach and moving away from auctions is proving fruitful for our panellists.

Eliminating buyers’ fees means more money to spend on a marketing budget for ad creation and an online presence.  

Our panellists also acknowledged a shift in the way the public views the value of their car and recognised that they are now better informed as to the true cost price.

  1. From a financing perspective, Oodle have extended the age of accepted vehicles as dealers widen their stock to meet demand. Interestingly, Williams pointed out this would have been impossible 30 years ago: in the early 1990s a 12-year-old car would have been almost obsolete from a tech and design point of view, but that is no longer the case.

2. The role of data

When it comes to data, our panellists agreed that insights and algorithms are just a part of the puzzle. While data can drive decision making, there is always room for the dealer analysis and experience to make the best use of the data. For the independent dealer, every used car is unique and no amount of insight can replace the value of expertise required to determine value.

3. Consumer Duty (CD)  

Our panellists were unanimous that regulation which benefits the customer and results in more transparency is in everyone’s interest. From Oodle’s perspective, we understand that independent dealers will have limited resources to flesh out the detail.

Phil Williams urged those independent dealers to read up on the duty principles; and Oodle will keep you updated on our progress.  

4. Cost of living crisis: the impact on the automotive industry

Customers will look at the car they can afford in most cases, but the focus is on the all-important affordability and on future-proofing their finances to make sure they can weather the turbulent climate going forwards.

From a dealer’s point of view they are not immune to the cost-of-living crisis; our panellists are mindful of keeping on top of their own energy use and exploring other ways to mitigate rising costs.

5. The independent dealer versus the larger franchise dealerships

The panel reflected on the advantages the independent has over the larger franchise, including the ability to offer a more personable service and pay better attention to the stock they have.

An independent can change tac more quickly to address certain market imperatives, something the larger, more cumbersome franchise network can’t match. The key takeaway is that it’s precisely this agility that will ultimately enable independent dealers to flourish in what we know is a challenging time for the automotive industry. 

Elsewhere at the event Oodle’s selfie stand competition proved a popular element, as was the great SWAG on offer for a bit of mindful doodling.


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