"Everything we do is focused around the customer and utilising new technologies, something that has really allowed us to set ourselves apart from the competition."
Fast growing North West used car dealership group cartime, based in Bury, is celebrating another successful year of growth after doubling in size by adding two new showrooms, and reporting a year-on-year rise in turnover of over 29 per cent.
In its latest financial year (April 2019), cartime has achieved a turnover of £43,030,000 (up from £33.4m in 2018) and a pre-tax profit of £1,154,000 (up from £908,000 in 2018).
The impressive figures come alongside a £5m inward investment into new premises, technology and site facilities. £1m is currently being spent transforming a former Aldi supermarket in Rochdale into a new state of the art dealership, which is due to open in early summer 2019.
cartime is also predicting yet another year of heavy growth, with plans to open two further sites this year and achieve a record turnover of £100m by 2021.
Employing 91 staff, cartime’s operation occupies a total of 3.5 acres set across two showrooms, a 70,000 sq. ft preparation centre, a 70-vehicle collection centre and additional stocking facility. It is currently undergoing a recruitment drive to further grow its team, specifically within senior management positions.
The recent opening of its specialist 4x4 centre, which is the largest in the North of England and adjacent to its original showroom, has allowed it to capitalise on consumer demand for a wide selection of larger, prestige vehicles available on one site. With circa 250 vehicles available at any given time, it stocks an extensive collection of Range Rovers, as well as BMW X5s and Audi Q5s and Q7s.
Its exceptional warranty continues to give cartime a strong positioning in the market as it exceeds that of almost every other new and used car retailer – offering a six-year guarantee and six years’ free MOT and servicing on any car purchased. Last year cartime increased its warranty from three to six years, to mark its sixth birthday, but it has been so successful that it has been continued indefinitely.
The opening of the Rochdale site, which is expected to generate an additional turnover of £25m in 2019, will create a further 20 jobs and allow cartime to expand its customer base in the North West. The new showroom will feature many state-of-the-art features, including a show-stopping stage and car turntable that will make every car handover a theatrical event – with lighting and smoke effects as the vehicle is unveiled.
One of the other key drivers to cartime’s growth this year has been the way firm retails its stock online. The dealership takes more than 30 photos and videos of every car so customers can see exactly what each vehicle offers before they visit the showroom.
Utilising a digital process that is fast and easy to navigate, this user experience has allowed cartime to attract buyers outside of the region and increased conversion from online enquiry to sale by 20 per cent. A brand new website is also scheduled to launch this summer.
Established by managing director Matt Kay in 2012, cartime’s aim has always been to revolutionise the used car dealership market by offering pre and aftersales services that exceed all others. Mr Kay said: “We are delighted to be celebrating another successful year of growth, what the team has achieved in the past 12 months is fantastic.
“My original vision for the business was to provide a customer-centric experience that wasn’t available elsewhere – especially within the used car marketplace – and I believe this is something that has been instrumental in our success and really driven the company forward.
“Each and every vehicle we purchase is subjected to a rigorous 62-point mechanical check to ensure it is in ‘as-new’ condition, with any vehicle that does not meet our stringent criteria being put to auction. This has ensured we have built up a very strong reputation within the industry and continue to get repeat custom and referrals.
“Everything we do is focused around the customer and utilising new technologies, something that has really allowed us to set ourselves apart from the competition.
“We’re not resting on our laurels, however. We have very strong ambitions – and projections - for the coming year, including the launch of our new Rochdale site and up to three additional showrooms, which we are expecting to accelerate our growth even further.
“There is a lot to achieve but we’re confident we have the systems and team to keep moving forward at the level we have enjoyed this year.”