Increasing profitability and vehicle sales with our car dealer warranties.

Stars of Channel 4’s documentary series ‘The Dealership’, Essex Car Company are a family-run car supermarket based in Rainham, Essex. Their showroom stocks up to 300 luxury used models at any one time, and they retail in excess of 1,500 vehicles per annum with the majority including a comprehensive WMS Group car warranty.

Essex Car Company’s commitment to delivering an unrivalled buying experience and aftercare package has earned them a glowing reputation with minimal staff turnover. All of the dealership’s retail models undergo a rigorous mechanical and electrical safety inspection carried out by their inhouse technicians, in addition to receiving a full provenance check. Every customer is offered the option of upgrading their warranty cover to a longer term.

What were your objectives?

To create additional profit and boost our customer retention, which we felt could be achieved by delivering as much added-value as possible. Our vehicles are priced towards the top end so every service we offer is subsequently of premium quality to maintain our integrity, from the finance houses to our professional sales staff, state-of-the-art workshop and F&I products. We always aim to provide customers with a good, honest and ethical service but at the same time, we do need to make a healthy return which is where your products have been instrumental.

Why did you choose the WMS Group?

We wanted to offer a premium warranty to work in synergy with our stock profile, and felt that the WMS Group would be the ideal partner. We’ve enjoyed a fantastic relationship with your company for a long time now and during my 25 years in the trade, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen another warranty provider which offers equivalent service or products. Our account manager is a credit to your company – he regularly visits us and is always on hand to help with any problems. We have a great relationship both professionally and personally.

What was your strategy?

All of our vehicles come with a minimum three month warranty as standard, but we offer every customer the option to upgrade to 36 months for £999, which we feel represents great value for money given the level of coverage and claim limit. Over 90% of our customers purchase the longer term as they recognise how expensive repairs can be and how comprehensive the cover is. In many cases, the warranty will have paid for itself after just one claim. We have a dedicated page on our website which highlights the main features and benefits, and we use your products as the hook when talking to customers. They are also promoted on our stock feeds and in our local advertising.

What improvements could the WMS Group make?

Where we’ve outsourced repairs to local garages, they have reported the occasional problem getting through on the phone lines, but I know you have been upgrading your systems and taking on more engineers. That said, we tend to email the claims over now and we usually get a response within the hour, so I cannot fault you in that respect. We are extremely happy and claims are dealt with very efficiently.

What are your objectives for 2015?

beacon_hill_headshotOur objective is quite simple – we want to increase our monthly car sales by 20% which is perfectly achievable as the dealership expands. We will be supporting the growth by recruiting further experienced sales staff and workshop technicians to make us the go-to place for car shopping and related services in Essex.

Any advice for other dealers when choosing a warranty provider?

If like us they are passionate about customer care, dealers should make sure their warranty provider delivers on its promises and that the coverage does what it says on the tin. They also shouldn’t underestimate the importance of having a field based account manager, as this has been vital for us. In my opinion, the WMS Group is the market leader – offering such a renowned brand helps us to reinforce the message and sell more vehicles.

Steve McLaughlin is the Director of Essex Car Company, responsible for overseeing all departments of the dealership. For more information please visit www.essexcarcompany.co.uk.

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