Price comparison giant Confused.com has partnered exclusively with Motors.co.uk to make it easier for people across the UK to compare the best car buying options. Motors.co.uk will provide dealer used car stock as part of the Motors.co.uk network, while Confused.com will provide car shoppers with visibility of the key costs involved in owning and running a car. The partnership will see Motors.co.uk promote Confused.com as its exclusive car insurance partner, enabling an even more informed search solution within the millions of used vehicle searches completed on the site each week. The car comparison site will mark the fourth network addition by Manheim-owned Motors.co.uk in just 12 months, following exclusive partnership deals with Preloved, the Carsite network, News UK-owned Sun Motors and The Sunday Times Driving. Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Motors.co.uk, explains: “The partnership with Confused.com allows us to further extend the exposure of our dealers’ used car stock, as well as giving busy car shoppers on Motors.co.uk the flexibility of sourcing both the car and insurance quote quickly in one place. “Delivering significant benefits for our advertisers, we believe this relationship is a perfect strategic fit in terms of providing the widest exposure for our dealers’ stock across multiple websites at different stages of the consumer buying process. We know that modern consumers hunt down their ideal car across numerous sites and we’re determined to ensure that wherever car buyers turn, our dealers’ stock is there.” Martin Coriat, CEO of Confused.com, adds: “Here at Confused.com, we are always looking for new initiatives that will help us to better serve customers. We know that buying a car is a major life purchase, second only to buying a house, so we want to make sure that people have all the information they need to make the best choice possible. “We’re committed to helping people find the best deal on both their insurance and the car they’re looking to purchase – or even sell. Our brand ethos is to save people time and money, and we think this new platform will do just that!” The new network partnership has been welcomed by dealers, with Ian Godbold, marketing and CRM director at Cambria, commenting: “It is clear that the Motors.co.uk network strategy is firmly focused on helping dealers like Cambria sell more cars. We benefited right across 2014 from additional leads driven from the Motors.co.uk Carfuffle TV campaign and the addition of the Carsite network. “Motors.co.uk has delivered yet again, with Sun Motors and Sunday Times Driving, the new Smart Finger TV campaign and now Confused.com. We look forward to this driving even more guests to our forecourts and showrooms”
US car dealerships need to continue to evolve to keep up with consumer demands in an increasingly competitive marketplace, according to research from one of the leading car search sites in the US, Autotrader.com. New research from Autotrader.com says US motorists are generally dissatisfied with the car buying process and dealers need to do more to meet their expectations. This echoes recent research from Autotrader.com’s sister site in the UK, Motors.co.uk, which suggests that while dealerships are on the right road, they need to respond quicker to queries and make sure they don’t lose sight of fundamental customer needs. Both companies are part of global automotive services giant Cox Automotive, whose President Sandy Schwartz this month revealed the verdict of US vehicle market research. The Autotrader.com survey showed that only a handful (17) of a poll of 4,002 US consumers like the current car buying process, with Mr Schwartz advising that dealership changes are needed to keep up with rising customer expectation. The Autotrader.com research revealed some significant changes that US motorists would like to see to the dealership buying process including test drives from product specialists, not salespeople, as well as the ability to test drive multiple vehicles of different brands, all from the same location. Additionally, consumers wanted the ability to start the negotiation process online (56%) and complete credit applications and paperwork online for faster service on the day of the sale. Mr. Shwartz added that dealers and car makers that created better shopping experiences would reap the benefits, with 72% of survey participants claiming they would visit a dealership more often if the buying process were improved and 66% claim they would be more likely buy from such a dealership that more closely delivered their ideal service. Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Motors.co.uk, said: “In both the UK and US, customer expectation is very high. “The findings from our sister company tie in with our own research which shows consumers are looking for a complete package and positive experience when purchasing a car. “US markets often identify trends which make their way over here so dealerships should take note of the demands for increased online options and specialist service. “A combination of smart online processes and strong retail culture will ensure dealers stay on top of their game.”
Two former directors of the car supermarket group Carcraft, which was placed into administration at the end of April, have come together to launch a brand new recruitment portal for ex-employees. Based on a Facebook platform, the intention is to help around 500 former Carcraft employees to find work quickly within the industry, while also helping dealers to recruit experienced, knowledgeable staff without the need to pay agency commission. Robin Bridge, director at Vehicle Trading Group, moved on from the Carcraft business in 2014, while Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Manheim-owned Motors.co.uk, was sales director of Carcraft until 2008. Coulthurst started working for the Rochdale-based business as a car parts assistant when aged just fifteen. Bridge and Coulthurst’s plan hinges on the fact that there are currently plenty of dealer jobs in the regions where Carcraft had locations. Their aim is simply to connect previous Carcraft employees with dealers looking to fill vacancies with experienced candidates. Bridge will collate the CVs of interested people and has already more than 40 documents since posting a message on social media Friday evening. Coulthurst, with the assistance of his team at Motors.co.uk, have provided a hub from which dealers and former Carcraft employees can communicate. Bridge explained: “I set the ball rolling on Friday evening with a post on social media. Since then we have had a huge number of CVs come across and expect to see more in the coming days. Key industry players have already stepped in offering positions for sales executives, call centre staff and IT-related roles. The next stage of boosting awareness and access should really help things move along.” Coulthurst continued: “The Motors.co.uk team set about creating a Facebook hub as soon as we opened for business on Tuesday morning. We will publish a summary of the candidates by job role and region. Dealers will also be able to post their vacancies on the hub and we will provide a dedicated resource for a couple of weeks to update Facebook, forward CVs and respond to any queries from either candidates or potential employers.” The plan is already gaining support from the industry. Dylan Haskell of GardX contacted Car Dealer Magazine over the weekend: “It is fantastic to see the industry coming together to help. There are some great people that worked for the Carcraft business and I am personally committed to spreading the word and pointing dealers at the new Facebook hub.” Automotive businesses who would like to post vacancies may share them for free on the hub at www.facebook.com/carcraftpeople. Previous Carcraft employees can also send their CV to email@example.com for circulation to potential new employers.
In one of the busiest plate change months of recent years, almost two thirds (61%) of Motors.co.uk dealers were hot on their email response times, compared with less than half (47%) in 2012. The revelation comes thanks to the repeat of a campaign which saw 100 sales queries sent to a random selection of independent and franchised retailers around the UK. Not only did the research show that dealers are improving in their management of email enquiries, the response times were also significantly quicker. The majority (98%) of those who sent a response did so within the crucial 24 hours after receiving the initial enquiry, while the four hour time frame was achieved by over two thirds (69%), and 38% hit reply within just one hour of receiving the email. Managing director of Motors.co.uk, Andy Coulthurst, comments: “We’re really pleased to see that there has been such a marked improvement in the number of dealers who are recognising the importance of engaging with customers via the channels which suit them, including email. In addition, more than two thirds of the dealers who replied to our challenge delivered a good or excellent response, which is incredibly positive news for the motor retail sector.” Of the 61 dealers who responded to the sales enquiry emails, 70% of the replies were good or excellent. This means that the dealer typically introduced themselves, provided contact details and answered the consumer’s questions, either letting them know about availability or offering to source an alternative vehicle. The top performing dealers went even further and personalised their response, asked about part exchange and finance options, or included photos or video of the car in question. Coulthurst continues: “Today’s consumer is technology rich and time poor. Whatever the product or service in question, we are all looking to get a useful response from retailers in an appropriate time frame and through a convenient channel in order to allow us to get on and make a decision. Increasingly, consumers will go elsewhere if the customer service they receive is not on a par with their expectations, which means dealers could be missing out on valuable leads if they don’t hit the reply button. “Not only does an enthusiastic buyer expect a good response, but they also want it quickly. Our latest consumer research shows three fifths (59%) of interested buyers would expect a response within four hours of contacting a dealership. Taking this into account, dealers should be mindful that their sales teams are also fully equipped to handle queries promptly.” Dealers can access lead management, monitoring and enquiry handling software through Motors.co.uk and sister company Manheim Retail Services. For more information, please visit www.motors.co.uk/tv.
Dealer experts are being urged to put themselves forward for a new consumer service which has been launched by Motors.co.uk. The innovation-led car search network has recently unveiled the ‘Ask an Expert’ page on its website and is looking for additional automotive professionals to add to the panel of industry leaders. The first phase of the innovative service offers car-buying advice on everything from jargon busting to test-driving tips. A series of videos has been created to help customers make an informed decision, featuring talking heads from some of the best in the business. It also includes a list of frequently asked questions and a useful, downloadable, step-by-step buying guide to help motorists on their car buying journey. Following a successful launch in February, the service is preparing to enter its second phase, focused on providing consumers with expert advice on selling, part-exchanging or trading-in their car. Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Motors.co.uk, said: “The aim of our ‘Ask an Expert’ service is to make buying and selling a car as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. “We want to help consumers make the right, informed decision and have a one-stop information base for everything they need to know so they can get the best deal available. We’ve had fantastic feedback on the service and are now looking to expand our pool of experts, so if you would like to share your tips in our next video series, get in touch today!” The invitation is open to leaders of dealer businesses, whether they be independent, a franchised dealer group or single outlet. For a chance to take part please register your interest at: http://www.surveygizmo.co.uk/s3/2104057/Expert