CWC Staff Update June 2021

Good afternoon all and welcome to our monthly round up of all things ‘City West Country’. With the month of May being our first full month with the showrooms open, it was lovely to experience a small taste of normality (albeit in a Covid secure way). However, as we approach the new dawn of a full release on the 19th July, some interesting challenges remain which will – as ever – test our resolve.

In the sales arena, these challenges centre around stock acquisition of both new and used cars. From a new car perspective, in harmony with just about anything containing a computer chip, it’s the unprecedented demand for semi-conductors during the Pandemic that is now causing significant delays across a number of model lines. And on the Used car front, the buoyancy of the used car market coupled with a lack of lease returns (once again following the lockdown where people could extend their contracts as their cars predominantly sat on their driveways) has resulted in us having very empty forecourts! Indeed where we would normally stock 440 Used cars across the market area, we currently have just 200 and consequently stock acquisition is becoming more important now than selling a car in the first place. We can’t sell empty spaces!! On a positive, the sales rate is very strong across the business (the Part Exchange Centre had its best ever month) and although the prices we are paying have never been stronger, the scarcity of stock is also resulting in some great margins too. This stock situation should start to ease as we enter Quarter 3 with more lease cars being returned and more new car stock will also start to appear from late Q3 onwards as the aforementioned supply chain issues get resolved.

In our aftersales departments, the ‘hangover’ of 12 months ago when – in the depths of the first wave – our visit numbers were nigh-on non-existent, resulted in a low requirement of servicing 12 months later and therefore reduced visit numbers this May too. Indeed, whilst we had 1,655 service visits in our last ‘normal’ May in 2019, two years later we had just 1,035 visits this May (a 38% reduction). As a consequence, the aftersales teams had to work hard maximising what they had through the door and this – coupled with a strong LCV performance at all sites – resulted in the month being saved. Promisingly, the bookings for June and early July have been much stronger and we hope to now be out of the dip we’ve experienced. Trade parts remained strong in the month, driven by increased Bodyshop work and an enlarged delivery area that covers most of the South West!

Overall – through a lot of hard work – May was a success and that brings me back to where I started as we move towards 19th July or ‘Freedom Day’ as it’s being dubbed. So often when the end is in site, good practices relax but it remains imperative to maintain our guard against Covid as the momentum we would lose through another temporary site shutdown would be tragic. With the Cornwall rate currently 133 cases per 100,000 over the 90 cases nationally, it’s a reminder to us all that despite the successes of the vaccine program, things can spike if left unchecked. Richard will be coming out with a reminder of all of the processes we have in place to minimise the risks – so let’s not throw the hard work all away now. Thank you for your support on this.

And so that brings me to my close. The world remains an odd place at the moment with so many continuing hurdles to trip up the unwary. Solid process; not being tempted into short cuts and needless-to-say a lot of effort, keeps us on the straight & narrow so I thank you for your continued hard work. I very much look forward to seeing you on site soon.

All the very best,

Mike

Online and Buying Team

Two new teams have been established at Site 5 to support the change in customer buying habits and the growth in the used car market. Introducing the Online Team and the Buying Team.

The Online Team, headed up by Mark Stevens operates exactly as our Retail sites do, but with no physical location. The team deal with used cars only and offer the complete Mercedes-Benz buying experience, completely online.

Further to the demand for used cars, the buying team at Site 5 has also grown. Building stock for our fleet business and The Part Exchange Centre, the Buying Team’s ‘We Want Your Car’ message is key to continuing this growth. If you are interested in selling your car to the Buying Team, please get in contact.

Kindness Is Key

Across the dealerships and sites, we are made aware of some great behaviours that we feel mustn’t go unnoticed. We are therefore introducing an HR ‘random act of kindness’ scheme to show our appreciation for those individuals who demonstrate behaviour that goes above and beyond their normal work duties, and for those who show their own acts of kindness towards a colleague and or customer.

This will be a small token of gratitude, such as a bottle of wine, voucher, afternoon tea, hamper or even an afternoon off.

Look out for updates from us to see some of the great work you and your colleagues are doing.

The HR Team

Training Platforms

As a business we are committed to providing employees with the ability to learn and develop by providing a huge array of training opportunities. We utilise several learning platforms that allow an individual to structure their own training pathways as well as ensuring that we are able to meet the manufacturer standards.

To support the understanding of these training platforms and to demonstrate the vast amount of training that is at your fingertips, Beth Honey (HR Coordinator) has put together a really comprehensive user guide.

Please take the time to watch the short video and take advantage of the training opportunities that are available to you to enhance your knowledge!