Auto Retail Column: Selling Cars to Eire

I’ve got a monthly column in the great Auto Retail Manager magazine. Here’s one I wrote a couple of issues ago encouraging dealers to look to Eire for sales. Irish buyers are looking here anyway, so why not make it easier for all, and encourage the business?

Celtic Tiger: Round 2

Little brother Sam recently decided to change his car. We are Irish: Sam lives in Dublin, and he’s just spent ten years in a 1993 BMW 320 Coupe that I found for him here. Buying in the UK gives a better choice for less money, and is easy with a man on the ground. The search was on for a 320 diesel Coupe, up to £8,000.

Autotrader had some, but eBay had more. We landed on a good example in Yorkshire: an ‘06 SE in dark blue metallic, with 42,000 miles on the clock. Bidding started at £7,500: a good price, given a Glass value of £8,300 with 55,000 miles. We eventually won it for the start bid.

While Sam went to New York for a week, I was in Amsterdam and Germany on work trips. It was almost three weeks before I caught a train to Leeds and sealed the deal. Through it all, the seller was brilliant, and the car was good as gold.

En route to grab a bank draft, our trader told me how bad he was finding things. “Last year was my worst to date, and I’ve been trading thirty years. This year has been terrible.” I asked if he was doing any business to Eire. “I used to, but not so much these days.”

Our BMW was a bargain, and easily a better car than anything on sale at home. Cars coming into the Republic have duty to pay but, even taking that into account, the car landed in Dublin owing circa €12,000, when the Revenue were valuing them at €14,500 and the market said closer to €18,000.

Here’s a mission to ponder: why not have a look at sales to Eire (pronounced Air-Ah)? Set up a dedicated Eire page on your website, and try some Facebook ads to capture Irish buyers. Nominate personal shoppers on your sales team, perhaps hire an Irish accent to staff a telephone hotline and create a money-saving buzz for Ireland-only buyers, with good pics and video of the cars on offer.

Turn up at the nearest airport to hand over the car, let them zoom off to the ferry in their pride and joy and go back to tell their friends. Harvest feedback and testimonials and get them up online. Convince some Irish papers to run copy praising your cross-border enterprise.

Bank news from the Republic might not look so hot, but there’s always been enough cash moving around Ireland to keep people going. Foreign investment is ongoing: visit to see who is spending money. You don’t need to be there for a slice of the action.

Why confine your business to thirty miles of postcode? You can find buyers anywhere – all you have to do is make it easier, cheaper and a little more exciting. Tie up with Groupon to buy overnight stays in local hotels if you’re really far away. Whatever region you target, market hard and take sales from those who can’t be bothered. If they don’t want the business, they deserve to lose!

Specialist Vehicle Preparations on BBC Midlands Today

Mighty Motor Media client, Specialist Vehicle Preparations, independent Porsche specialist in Droitwich, Worcestershire, was recently featured on BBC’s Midlands Today.

The news piece followed on from a competition, the brainchild of good friend Nick Bailey at local PR firm, Propel Technology. Nick’s customer – Surface Processing Limited – runs an acid tank dipping process to remove old paint from car bodyshells prior to their restoration. My own Porsche had the same process applied in Switzerland when it was restored.

The BBC’s Top Gear website ran a competition to identify the stripped bodyshells, which attracted half a million entrants in pretty short order. The campaign is simple, and fun. A great idea and a top result for the client.

The BBC clip features Dominic Delaney from SVP (Worcester Porsche Servicing), talking about the benefits of acid dipping and keeping classic cars on the road. The 934 behind Dom in the clip is just coming out of build, and about to enter some races in a classic race series towards the end of this season.

It’s all good stuff!

Mighty Motor Media: flat out and loving it

The murderous pace of automotive publicity work here at Mighty Motor Media continues!

We’re non-stop busy with the inspirational Race4Change Safari Rally campaign and Travis Pastrana’s place on our team. TwinSpark Racing just had the Zuffenhaus Porsche 911 RSR brakes come into stock, Tuthill Porsche is working hard on Safari plans and some new ideas for 2012, Specialist Vehicle Preparations in Droitwich has just moved to great new premises and launched the wheel arch liner product, and Rob Campbell’s Racing Restorations is about to finish our Subaru workwagen refurbishment, and take the Toyota Landcruiser away for some overhauling, powder coat and paint.

I’m also doing quite a few classic car insurance valuations, some car values consultancy and handling one or two exciting new business enquiries: I cant tell you everything we’re up to. Also trying to employ a media studies intern for a couple of days a week. If anyone knows a keen college or uni student within reach of Daventry or Banbury who wants to come and play in an up-and-coming media company, put them in touch with me!

As if that was not enough, I am also trying to set up the Classic Porsche Print Shop – my buddy Lewis North at Milton Keynes web designers Method and Class is offering good help and advice on the way forward for a decent web shop. I plan to offer my popular iPhone and high resolution pictures on there in a number of formats.

I see a huge future for that as my photo college education continues. Level 3 City and Guilds kicks off in September and I will probably do a Fine Art degree after that. More news as it happens!

In the middle of it all, we’re trying to get our extension out of the ground at home. And I’m trying to wake up my gym membership, get away from the iMac and unwind doing something non-car every so often. A recent Facebook post from my buddy Wayne Allman over at the Intergalactic Custom Shop offered some light at the end of that particular tunnel. I’m getting back into playing the drums! See the post on my Classic Porsche Blog for details.