Waylands Automotive boss braces his car dealership group for recession – Car Dealer Magazine

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Waylands Automotive CEO John O’Hanlon prepares his car dealership business for a recession.

The Volvo and Kia Group boss told Car Dealer Live that as the UK heads into a contraction in growth, he is busy laying the groundwork for his business to pull through.

His comments come as the Bank of England warned yesterday that the UK is facing the longest recession in its history.

By raising interest rates to 3%, the bank said although it will take longer, the recession will not be as deep as the downturn that followed the financial crash of 2008.

However, rising mortgage payments and continued inflation pressure are weighing heavily on car buyers.

O’Hanlon is working hard with his teams to ensure that his marketing messages are now relevant and that customers know there are cars available for purchase.

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“I think we are heading into a recession,” he explains in the video recorded a few weeks ago.

“And I’m not really sure there’s much we can do about it.

“We really have to make sure that our companies are in the best position.

“We spend a lot of time looking at how we market to our customers, making sure we’re sending absolutely the right messages, making sure those customers are aware of the product we have.”

O’Hanlon was speaking to Car Dealer Live as part of our Car Dealer Power Awards, released in mid-October. His commentary on the recession can be seen below with the video beginning at that point.

O’Hanlon said car dealerships have become accustomed to maintaining business with lower volumes but higher margins — and that could soon change.

He suggested that with stronger margins lately, dealers could “get away with” ignoring “some of the basics” over the past 12 to 18 months, but with a recessionary economy that will no longer be the same.

He added: “Your pricing has to be right and your claim handling has to be fantastic.

“Whether online or offline, this omnichannel approach suddenly has to be great because customers are waiting for a response.

“We try to make sure that we stick to knitting and that everything looks good for a customer, but it happened with us.”

In a high-profile interview that marked the history of its brand partner Kia third year at the top from the Car Dealer Power survey, O’Hanlon also shared his thoughts on used car prices and next steps for his business.

He also gave his thoughts on upcoming agency sales that will transform the way car dealerships sell vehicles.

“I’m incredibly open-minded about it,” he said.

“I really don’t care how I get rewarded, as long as I get rewarded for my performance and for the great work my teams do. As long as I get rewarded enough, I don’t mind.

“But there are risks and it’s up to each retailer to just remind our brand partners if they’re really taking that leap, what those risks are.”

You can watch the entire video interview at the top of this article.

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