A great article was published by Bodyshop Magazine about allocating around £30Million of a £400Million budget to training Technicians to be able to deal with the new technology that we will no doubt be seeing in this new breed of electric vehicles. It is important that Technicians will be able to understand how to correctly and successfully power down these vehicles to be able to maintain them. If you would like to read the full article you can read it here.
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Inchcape have decided to increase Sales Executives basic pay to try and enhance the way customers are treated during the sales process. The way this will affect the customers experience is by removing the element of “high pressure” selling and allowing salesman to focus more on giving the customer a more personal service.
James Brearley Inchcape UK chief executive, said: “Delivering an exceptional customer experience has always been and will always be at the heart of this business and in changing our sales structure we want to build a team of expert advisors, who are able to deliver a tailored customer experience every time”
“We are saying goodbye to the days of high pressure sales operations that relied on lower basic salaries and high commissions and drove unrealistic sales volumes - our plan will create an environment that puts the customer first every time”
It looks like Inchcape are really looking ahead and are recognising that times are changing in our industry for both customers and staff.
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Sales executives at Arnold Clark are now working a five-day week, in a first for the car dealer group.
It is claiming an "industry-leading move to a five-day working week for sales staff", which has been initiated following feedback from staff.
Arnold Clark said it will help employees develop their career and give a flexible two days a week for the important things in life.
Arnold Clark group HR manager Lynne McBurney said, ‘The new five-day week commission structure has been introduced after discussions with our 11,000-strong workforce. The move lets those within sales enjoy a more flexible working pattern, allowing for a better work life balance.’
The company is recruiting sales executives throughout many of its 200 branches across the UK, and hopes the move will help it fill vacancies..
Jacquie Sherry, Arnold Clark group recruitment manager added: "We are confident that the more beneficial working pattern within our sales departments will attract those who are looking for a career in sales but have previously been discouraged by the long hours."
Ferrari North Europe welcomed four new service advisors and two new parts advisors to its UK retail network after hosting a graduation from its apprenticeship scheme. The six new recruits completed an intensive two-year apprenticeship with the brand as part of what the Italian supercar specialist sees as “The de facto route into a professional career with an Official Ferrari Dealership”.
This is living proof that an apprenticeship is not just something you do if “you don’t fancy going to uni” they can really give you opportunity’s to build an amazing career. Ferrari North Europe first introduced the in-house apprenticeship scheme in September 2011, and the company invested heavily in new classroom facilities, IT equipment, personnel and previous Ferrari cars in order to deliver on its promise to create the next generation of Ferrari Service Technicians.
Considering that Ferrari North Europe covers dealers outside the UK, we can then assume that less than 1000 people will have applied for apprenticeships in England. Because this is a brand leading power house company, we would have expected more young people trying to join their programs this is again proof that young people are not aware of the value of apprenticeships and seem to be getting talked into or blindly lead into further education when this may not necessarily their best career route.
September is not just a big month in our industry, it’s also our birthday. Steve Shaw established Ingenia Recruitment back in 1993 making this year the 24th birthday of Ingenia.
“I set this business up in 1993 to provide a confidential and professional service to individuals looking for a job and companies looking for staff. Utilising my experience in Aftersales, Sales, Training and Management I aim to provide a highly personal, customer focussed service to everyone I deal with.” - Steve Shaw
Steve Shaw is very experienced and has worked within the motor trade for many years which has given him the tools needed to place thousands of people into jobs around the north east.
“I entered the motor trade in 1977 and have made it my career since. Having worked in aftersales, sales, training and since 1993, recruitment, I understand all aspects of our industry. With such a range of experience and having interviewed a few thousand people, I consider myself well experienced to provide advice and guidance to companies and individuals working in bodyshops and independent companies. It’s important to me that this business operates with strong ethical values, providing a confidential, friendly, flexible service that is free to our candidates and realistically priced to the companies we deal with.” - Steve Shaw
“I would like to thank Steve and his team for going above and beyond to get me an interview which led me to gain full time employment, I can't recommend Ingenia enough to people for their professional and friendly services.”
- Rob - Cramlington
“Steve and the Ingenia team were absolutely fantastic in helping me find the job which I'm currently in and I'm really enjoying the position. I would definitely recommend Steve and the Ingenia team in finding anyone a position in the motor trade.”
- Daniel - South Hetton
“I Would like to thank Steve personally for the true professionalism and keeping me up to speed with how things were progressing. Fantastic service and will definitely use again for both recruiting and searching. Thank you Ingenia.”
- Dave - Teeside
“The motor industry is a constantly changing environment but so are the expectations of applicants. As a result I spend a lot of time keeping up with such changes and feel it is vitally important to interview every applicant who contacts us for help, to make sure I understand them and what their needs are. Whilst there are many obvious changes taking place and with all the benefits IT systems can bring, I still believe in providing old fashioned customer service, speaking to people instead of texting and being there when people need help” - Steve Shaw
Manufacturers and retailers need to simplify the shopping process, offering reassurance on a buyer’s choice continuously throughout the journey, generating trust at every step.
Carmakers’ advertising needs to become more personal, based on a greater understanding of consumer needs and dealers need to appreciate the lifestyle the new car will become part of, and less concerned about sales targets.
These conclusions come off the back of an Auto Trader study of 40 households new and used car buying experience, with their views recorded – often on video – via an app. Another 2,000 people gave their opinions via Auto Trader’s website.
Ian Plummer (pictured), manufacturing and agency director, said: “The feeling of being overwhelmed by choice leads to a strong desire for reassurance to alleviate the nagging doubt there was something they haven’t considered. This uncertainty is amplified through the inherent lack of trust in the industry.”
He said manufacturers and dealers need to “drive trust and transparency into the sector”.
“This can be achieved through offering a fully transparent customer experience, facilitated by unbiased, independent reviews, videos and strong imagery, coupled with a choice of cars in tune with the local market, transparently and accurately priced.”
Key findings in Auto Traders’ The Car Buyers Report:
· 60% of car buyers gave up their search for the perfect car and made a purchase out of exhaustion
· 75% of 17-to-24-year-olds got ‘tired of looking around’
· 85% of people expect the car buying process to be hard
· At the final, car buying stage, most people have three cars on their choice list
· One in five car buyers are worried about encountering unexpected jargon or being confronted by too many deals
· One exhausted shopper says on video: “I just wish someone woud bring three cars to my front door that I could choose from.”
Steve from Ingenia Recruitment Says “It’s sad but unsurprising that we read such figures because manufactures spending a lot of money on training there staff on how to handle customers however that said most sales executives we have spoken to feel that they process the customer, smaller dealerships who are not part of a group often achieve a sale because they provide more traditional and personal customer service.”
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A recent article coming from CV library shared some statistics on the vacancies and applicants they are receiving, this prompted us to have a look at how we compare. As we all know CV library are operating on a national level so we wanted to give people another perspective on these stats, here’s what we found.
We can agree with CV Library that vacancies have gone up although in the North East they are not as high at 7.2% using a YTD figure at the end of August 2017. Clearly there is an increased need for staff and while the North East dealers feel their situation is difficult there must be parts of the UK doing a lot worse.
Ingenia’s figures concerning applicants show a massive variance to those of CV Library. Whilst we don’t know what time frame CV Library used to collect their figures our YTD applicants to the end of August increased by a massive 61.3%. Closer inspection of these applicants however revealed that 80.4% were totally unsuitable for the vacancies they were applying for. Why is this figure so high?
Clearly some applicants will just be desperate for work and just use a scattergun approach by applying for anything and/or not reading the requirements of the vacancy they were applying for. Of course the other scenario is that there are simply not enough suitably qualified candidates in the market and applying for jobs, this second and most likely scenario begs the question. Why? From in depth research carried out by Ingenia Recruitment such skill shortages can be traced back to a lack of apprentice recruitment in the industry for many years. In short the industry has created its own monster and despite the fact we have a solution to this problem, and even when faced with such clear business debilitating issues, they are still unwilling to invest in their businesses future, choosing short term gains instead.
For further information please contact Ingenia Recruitment on 0191 415 5010.
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The crash repair market needs to dramatically gear up for the growth of electric and hybrid vehicles which will fundamentally change the bodyshop landscape, according to Graham O’Neill, the CEO of ACIS, the market leading distributor to the sector.
The government recently announced the 2040 end of the road deadline for diesel and petrol engines to reduce the health impact of fossil fuel emissions, the catalyst for a demand surge in hybrid and electric vehicles in the next few years.
Graham said, ‘We are now on a game-changing journey which will potentially see a dramatic overhaul of our industry in terms of training need, key-to-key times and ultimately cost. There are inherent safety risks for bodyshop personnel dealing with hybrids and electric vehicles and specialist training such as that provided by the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) will be important for technicians to avoid the threat of electrocution.’
The IMI has spearheaded a campaign to keep motor technicians safe by adopting the correct repair protocols – for example, how to disconnect the batteries and charge them down before commencing a job.
E-cars can contain circuits running at more than three times the 230 volts found in the domestic mains supply, posing a real risk of electrocution and fire unless properly handled, according to the IMI which is pressing for the need to set up a licensing system for electric car mechanics to ensure they are properly trained.
There are about 180,000 car mechanics in the UK, of whom only 40,000 are on the IMI’s professional register. Their figures suggest there are currently around 45,000 electric cars on the roads and only 1,000 people trained to fix them.
Removing batteries, often protected within an integrated ‘armoured’ casing to shield against vibration and impact, takes time and specialist care. On hybrids, switching off the petrol or diesel engine does not necessarily disengage the electric battery which could present dangers for uninitiated bodyshop technicians.
Likewise, battery removal is imperative before the prime and painting process as they would not respond well to the high levels of heat generated from drying booths.
Graham continued, ‘There are already a number of bodyshops able to repair electric and hybrid vehicles, but we are looking at a major volume increase in numbers over the next few years. Bodyshops need to be ready and have the right training in place. All of these factors could add to the time and the cost of repairs, certainly in the short term as volumes increase in line with the UK being weaned off fossil fuelled vehicles.
‘We are looking at a steep learning curve and a dramatic requirement for up-skilling and this has got to start now – we cannot wait until 2040 and hope for the best.’
Although Pendragon have just announced that they are to raise salaries to attract Technicians to their group, many companies have already raised salaries in order to secure new employees. Skills shortages are now causing serious concern across our industry which is putting Technicians at all but the bottom level 'in the driving seat' when it comes to negotiating for a new job. We are even seeing independent workshops offering basic salaries of £30k to attract the right people. Other mechanical industries who are suffering shortages, are recruiting people from the motor industry and upskilling them. The problem for us is that they are paying much better wages. Lack of investment in apprentices and uncompetetive pay rates was always going to have a serious impact and now seems to be that time.
The Government's plan to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 is in motion as an attempt to tackle air pollution. Ministers have also unveiled a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions, including the potential for charging zones for the dirtiest vehicles. Local authorities will be given direct financial support from the government, with £40m of the fund being made immediately.
The whole ban on petrol and diesel is a classic use of a headline scare, this would have no doubt spread fear through the market impacting residual values. The reality is, this is 23 into the future and if we consider the average person changes their car once every 3 years, that’s just over 7 new cars, in this time we will have gradually been weaned off of petrol and diesel onto hybrids and then make the move over to fully electric cars. So while there is a lot of hype around the topic at the minute, it isn’t a big issue.