Retaining screen values with the Ultimate car scheme, Safe and Sound.

Established in 1992, West Country Cars is an independent car dealership based in East Chinnock, near Yeovil, Somerset. They stock in excess of 60 quality used vehicles from £5,000 to £25,000 at any one time, and include the full Safe and Sound car warranty scheme with each model as standard.

West Country Cars boast an enviable reputation for quality, having built up a loyal customer base spanning the UK. The dealership provides a wide range of services including car sales, repairs, valeting and MOT / service work, with all vehicles being prepared to high standards by their in-house technicians. They offer a prestigious customer care and aftersales platform to ensure that buyers receive exceptional service at each stage of their ownership.

What were your objectives?

The main objective was to provide customers with an added-value package that would give them proper peace of mind and care, whilst enabling us to defend our profit margins. We’ve never sold on price and we don’t generally discount our vehicles so Safe and Sound provides the perfect leverage and simultaneously helps to raise our profile further. As an FCA registered business, treating customers fairly is essential so we always ensure that our operations are not only ethical but also focussed around our buyers’ needs.

Why did you choose the WMS Group?

We used to work with another well-known car warranty provider but the service was shocking and they were causing so many issues over claims, which was very distressing for customers. After this we had little faith in warranty companies and began offering our own three month guarantee. I then saw one of your adverts featuring Stirling Moss and you were looking for dealers to join the network.

At first we thought it was either too good to be true or the premiums would be too expensive. But I made the call anyway and we agreed to trial it. I’m so pleased we did as we couldn’t have been more wrong on both counts and have enjoyed a fantastic relationship with you for three years! Not all dealers can say they include £500 of extras free of charge.

What was your strategy?

We provide the entire scheme with all models but vehicles over £10,000 are automatically upgraded to a 12 month warranty. Each customer is offered the option of purchasing a longer term but only at cost price, and they can still bolt it on to the finance package if required. We could easily profit from the warranty as it’s such a brilliant product but we choose not to, purely because we are already retaining the screen values. The scheme is promoted on our website, stock feeds and local advertising, plus the point of sale materials – it’s a real attention grabber, especially with Stirling Moss. I always say it’s not just the ultimate used car scheme but also the ultimate sales aid!

What improvements could the WMS Group make?

If I had to find one, it would be great if the scheme included 12 months breakdown cover rather than the standard 6 months. And maybe if you could cover the remote key fobs as they seem to be a common problem! Your account manager, business development manager and claims engineers in particular are all credits to the WMS Group – customers are always looked after and we’ve never had any issues.

What are your objectives for 2015?

To continue offering quality used vehicles backed up with a professional, no-pressure service. We will recruit additional staff and make further improvements where necessary to ensure that customers receive the best experience in Yeovil. We also joined thewcc_headshot FOXY dealer network earlier this year to highlight that we are a female friendly operation, and pride ourselves on supporting talented young apprentices to help them kick off their careers.

Any advice for other dealers when choosing a warranty provider?

Cheap premiums shouldn’t be the deciding factor for reputable dealers as they usually mean poor service like we found out. Your company is an asset to ours and you have always provided excellent support all round, thank you.

John Sugg is the co-founder and Dealer Principal of West Country Cars, responsible for overseeing all operations of the dealership. Find out more at www.westcountrycarsyeovil.co.uk.

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