Carsnip catches up with Jim Reid and all things Covid-19

Industry legend and Automotive figurehead, Jim Reid, of Jim Reid Vehicle Sales and Service Scotland, talks to Paul Cannon, Carsnip’s Sales Manager about the effects of Covid-19 on his own dealership, and the wider IMDA membership network. 

Starting at the beginning, Jim and The IMDA were quick out the doors to try and find answers for the some 823k number of people employed in the UK motor industry (Statista, 2018). Putting a petition together in a matter of days, they now have over 28 thousand responses. The petition urged the government to reconsider its exclusion of salespeople’s commission payments, as part of the 80% furlough payment they would pay during the Coronavirus crisis. 

Another factor close to Jim’s heart was clearly the support and advice the IMDA could give to members. The Independent Motor Dealers Association, founded in 2017, aims to be the voice of independent dealers across the UK, offering free membership, access to over 30 suppliers, and an excellent array of advice, support and events throughout the calendar. 

Jim explained passionately that the IMDA are looking to offer support to dealers and sales people alike to ensure that there will be further guidance regarding furloughed staff and commission payments. Jim says “We have some great legal people already in the industry helping us with that and how to put that across to our members” Jim goes on to say “That will help give better clarification to the furlough side of things”. The IMDA are also looking to publish and share some great ideas on how to move forward post-lockdown; including best practice when it comes to social distancing, selling and vehicle handovers. On this point, Jim says “we have got to look long term and look past lockdown now”.

Jim talks at length about the factors that he thinks will play out in the coming weeks and months. “It’s the unknown, it’s never happened before. No businesses have been closed for a 3 week period or a 4 week period or potentially a couple of months”. When speaking about this subject Jim believes that how we deal with it as individuals will greatly impact the result at the other end of the pandemic. Now is the time to look at the costs that are going out of your business that would get overlooked normally. Jim believes that there could be a pent up demand as customers are sat indoors with money and nothing to spend it on, saying “potentially customers have got saving, it might be £500 or £1000 that they may not normally  have” then continues to say “instead of going on that holiday that has been cancelled anyway, they may well think let’s treat myself to a car”.

Regarding vehicle values moving forward, There are a lot of different views on this point. CAP has already agreed to pause trade values for 3 months due to the lack of data available. It might be a saving grace as it was difficult to get hold of stock at a decent price before the crisis, so dealers were holding lower stock values which reduces the risk profile to some dealers now. The effects on the economy will be paid back over a long period of time, “Government grants do not come with no cost”.

“You’ve got to look at the positive now, don’t focus too much on the negative because that is what you will get as the reality”

Jim and Paul also spoke about the unknown speed of which the industry may pick up again. Regarding the speed of change, Jim comments “100%, we are going to be forced to change”, the ones that will struggle are the ones who kick and scream about the change rather than embrace it. Now is a good time to use technology to our benefit. Let’s use video calls and phones to engage with our customers and bring this into the new sales process. Face to face communication with customers is the thing that will suffer most with the unstoppable change to the sales process, but by utilising technology we can maintain and build relationships with our customers.

Jim also continues to support the community, and has recently supported a charity called NERVs by supplying three cars to key workers. This use of vehicles allows for the transport of vital equipment to hospitals and medical settings during lockdown. Jim’s mindset is “if you can help, you should help”.

Coming to the end of the conversation, Jim comments he feels there’s an unusual feel of calmness at the moment and hopefully this continues for him. With a final and emotional remark from Jim “you’ve got to look at the positive now, don’t focus too much on the negative because that is what you will get as the reality”.

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About Carsnip
Carsnip is the UK’s largest used car search engine, with over 500,000 dealer sold used cars across the UK. We operate a natural language search engine, to help you find your perfect used car, and narrow down the choice by what’s most important to you.

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