Cazoo…Carzam…and now the Peter Vardy/Vauxhall split. How does the growing focus on online and used car sales affect your job?

With the rise of Cazoo and other online retailers we now see that Peter Vardy and the Vauxhall franchise are parting company after Vardy announced his business will focus on his Carz used vehicle outlets. More significantly, in our view, Vardy will be pushing online sales to rival Cazoo and others via the Silver Bullet digital platform.

This comes after a report of improved turnover and profitability in 2019 – we feel Vardy knows what he’s doing having anticipated the drop in dealership footfall some time ago.

The highly-respected Vardy will bid farewell to Vauxhall in the summer and will transform his six Vauxhall sites into used car supermarkets branded as Carz. We also understand that the Vardy-backed Silver Bullet online retail platform will be pushed further and harder, enabling customers to complete the majority of the buying process before a ‘click and collect’ transaction.

Clearly this move towards online sales directly affects every dealership in the country and every person working in them. While we would expect online sellers to champion virtual sales they are reporting a 25% rise in website visitors.

Add on top of this Capgemini’s report ‘Agency Sales Model: Accelerating the Future of Automotive Sales’ which clearly spells out that a move from the traditional franchised car retail model would deliver “financial benefits on all sides”.

Interviews by Capgemini reveal that retailers assume that their future will feature an agency model, where agents are paid to advise buyers, manage test drives and complete the sale:

“Moving to a B2C agency sales model is not an option but an obligation from the perspective of both customer centricity and financial profitability…taking short- and long-term effects into account, transitioning to agency sales can pay off financially after four-to-five years. 

“Therefore, it is now time to act for OEMs and to select a market as well as product to start the transformation journey.”

If you’re reading this sitting in a dealership you should be sitting up and taking notice. We’re not scare-mongering, we’re saying the sector is changing, not just towards agency reps but also online and with a higher profile for used car sales. People such as Peter Vardy and Cazoo’s Alex Chesterman have seen the future and they’re not just embracing it, they’re making it happen.