Automotive industry must do what it can for workforce as cost-of-living crisis bites, says Peter Vardy – Car Dealer Magazine – Car Dealer Magazine

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Home > Podcast > Automotive industry must do what it can for workforce as cost-of-living crisis bites, says Peter Vardy
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John Bowman
Time 7:53 am, November 13, 2022
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The automotive industry really needs to look out for all its workers as they grapple with the cost-of-living crisis, says Peter Vardy’s CEO.
It was one of the topics that Peter Vardy discussed when he appeared as a guest on the latest Car Dealer Podcast. His comments followed a survey that said many drivers would be looking to take on more debt to stay on the road.
Vardy said: ‘You’ve got people struggling with the cost of living balloting for pay rises, and you just worry that some of those people balloting for pay rises are sat next to a colleague who’s going to lose their job because there’s not enough money to go round to pay everyone the pay rises they need and employ the same workforce.
‘There isn’t an easy answer to all of this.
‘We will have to, as an industry, look after our colleagues in terms of pay rises and try to get the balance right as best we can.’
And he highlighted how the Car Dealer Top 100 firm – which has new and used car dealerships across Scotland, and whose group includes software provider SilverBullet, a leasing business, plus online finance broker CarMoney – was helping staff, such as offering budgeting lessons.
Other initiatives that Peter Vardy has introduced are free meals once a week plus interest-free loans.
‘We can only influence what we can influence, so as long as each of us takes responsibility for what we can influence and do something about it, that’s probably as much as we can do.’
Vardy also touched on the group’s future plans, which include branching out to Australia.
‘We’ve got an ambition with our CarMoney business of going to 10 countries in 10 years. Our family business is 100 years old next year, so we’re having a bit of a celebration about that.
‘Everybody finances cars all over the world – that’s pretty much a common practice – so if you took a business like CarMoney, could it actually succeed in different countries?
‘We’ve got a few places and a few people we’re going to work in partnership with and one of them’s in Australia. It’s a risk, obviously, but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?’
The agency model was another topic covered in the podcast, and Vardy said he quite liked a lot of it from the consumer point of view in that the price was the same everywhere and that it was a fluid buying process.
He also highlighted how the number of people wanting to negotiate was dropping.
‘You can tell that with the number of sales advisers you bring in and train and none of them wants to do the negotiation training bit, because they don’t do any negotiation in their personal lives. They just go online and find the cheapest one.
‘So there’s a lot of society that doesn’t negotiate any more.’
Vardy added that the group had tried a Cazoo-type operation but found there weren’t enough people interested in buying used cars purely online and having them delivered to make it worthwhile as a standalone business, saying there was a disproportionate marketing spend getting one in 10 buyers rather than three in 10.
Each week on the Car Dealer Podcast, two of the team go head to head choosing their favourite stories of the week and an industry guest decides which was best.
You can listen to the latest podcast in full on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and stream it straight to your device.
Other topics covered in this week’s podcast included:
If you’d like to appear on the Car Dealer Podcast, email news@cardealermagazine.co.uk.
John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.
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