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What a Difference a Decade Makes

February 29, 2012

Coachworks Consulting is celebrating 10 years of helping automotive leaders transform their businesses.

The landmark anniversary gives us a chance to look back with pride on a decade of growth through helping manufacturers and dealerships improve leadership, sales and customer service.

More importantly, though, our 10th birthday celebrations mark the launch of the next exciting phase of our development.

When we set up Coachworks Consulting in 2002, S Club 7 won Best Single Awards at The Brits, Atomic Kitten were nominated in the Best Newcomer Category and Dido scooped Best Album.

The first BlackBerry was launched, but smartphones were rare and, well, not very smart.

In 2002, 2.3 million new car sales were forecast, compared to 1.9 million this year, while a litre of unleaded cost 79.3p – a far cry from the current average price of 135.9p.

And it was in 2002 that Coachworks Managing Director Karl Davis realised his journey from apprentice mechanic to automotive manufacturer senior management had given him a wealth of experience that could benefit car makers and car sellers.

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Race for Growth Leads to Improved Sales and Customer Service for Sturgess Group

Historic dealer group Sturgess has increased sales and profits after calling in Coachworks Consulting.

The Leicester family business has also improved its customer service ranking and developed a motivated and well-rewarded team of service advisors after completing the Race for Growth business improvement programme.

Volvo and Alfa Romeo service advisors, managers and dealer principals took part in the 26-week project, and the investment is now paying significant dividends.

Dealership General Manager Scott Allen said: “We’re seeing real improvement in gross profit in 2012, which is down to increased sales through better VHC conversion.

“Applying the Coachworks coaching created a lift in sold hours per retail job card of 0.3 in a very short period of time, without having a negative impact on recovery rate, and we have moved from averaging 23 percent on red up-sell to 57 percent.

“That 24 per cent improvement in our VHC performance has had a significant impact on our bottom line and it has motivated the team to challenge one another in best practices. (more…)

Used Car Strategies Vital in a Complex Market

DEALERS and manufacturers must re-think the way they buy and sell second hand cars if they want to maximise profitability in 2012, it has been claimed.

International automotive business improvement specialist Coachworks Consulting believes many franchises have forgotten the common-sense basics when it comes to used vehicles – in an economic environment which makes margin retention all the more important.

Recent research suggests the second hand market is becoming increasingly complex. A lack of 0- to 3-year-old vehicles has pushed up prices in that category six percent so far this year, Cap Black Book found, but figures from Auto Trader show overall values are still falling.

Karl Davis, managing director at Coachworks, said: “The shortage of newer vehicles means dealerships are spending more money getting older stock to saleable condition.

“That puts added pressure on margins, so management must be sure sales teams aren’t giving away margin in their keenness to land a deal. (more…)

Call Centres Key in Franchise Battle with Independents

Franchised dealer groups must do more to exploit the potential of call centres if they want to win aftersales market share from independent garages, according to automotive specialist Coachworks Consulting.

The international consultancy believes separating call handling from the service desk can be a catalyst for increased revenue and improved customer retention when done well.

But too many businesses are investing more than £100,000 in call centre infrastructure without putting in place procedures and leadership that maximise benefits, says Coachworks.

The advice comes after a recent study by Castrol Professional Services showed that by 2013 dealers are likely to lose £85.6 million in aftersales – or 4 per cent of the market – because of a drop in new car sales and aggressive pricing from independent garages.

Karl Davis, managing director of Coachworks Consulting, said: “Too many franchises are losing too many customers at the very point those customers start to deliver real profit to retailers and manufacturers alike. (more…)