New car sales a 'virtual' reality for M M Autos

A keenness to diversify led garage owner Murdo MacIntosh down an unusual route for an aftermarket workshop – that of selling brand new cars but without ‘the metal’ on the forecourt.

But then Murdo likes to run a lean operation. The workforce at his M M Auto Services Ltd in Dundee consists of just him, a qualified technician and an apprentice.

As a Servicesure Autocentre Murdo was alerted to the option of selling new cars and vans following an introduction to Car Leasing Bargains, operators of a ‘virtual showroom’ that is offered exclusively to the network on a franchise basis.

The results have been excellent with www.mmautocarsales.co.uk selling 21 new vehicles since September 2015.

“It is a great opportunity for us; not only is the sale a valuable income stream but we regularly pick up the follow on business,” said Murdo. “The customer comes in, trades up and we get a servicing deal for two, three, even four years. About 70% of sales have come from existing customers.”

Murdo said not having the vehicles on the forecourt isn’t a disadvantage. The potential purchaser is offered a wide choice and finance options to suit their needs, including personal and business contract hire.

Sales to date have ranged from a small entry model Kia to an Audi QUATTRO, and the offer extends to a range of commercial vans, such as Citroen Berlingo and Transit size options.

“There’s something for everyone. About 90% of the cars are delivered here, where we have the opportunity check them over before a personal handover to the buyer,” said Murdo.

He set up M M Auto Services Ltd around five years ago, taking the decision not to have his own MOT lane, and has built up the business to between 600 and 700 customers on his books.

But with larger dealer groups in Dundee ‘swallowing up’ the smaller ones, leaving just two or three independents in the town, he felt the second hand car market was changing. Of particular concern, was being able to acquire quality stock for the business to grow.

“We became a Servicesure Autocentre through our main autoparts supplier Dingbro about four years ago because, among other things, it gives us the kudos of being ‘Motor Codes approved’ and we have also benefited from many savings from workwear to garage insurance, he said. 

“They introduced us to Car Leasing Bargains who have assisted greatly and initially we left it but the market started changing and we saw it as an exciting new option. It was a case of necessity being the mother of invention. It makes us an unusual mix of aftermarket garage but with a new car sales concept; it’s a way of stretching out to new customers.”

Murdo said that while at times it can be hard work as he is the main person front of house it makes it a very personal service with little paperwork, which is appealing to the customer.

Prospects for www.mmautocarsales.co.uk are good with the aim to achieve 20 to 30 used car sales plus around 50 lease agreements for cars or vans in a full year.