Dealer Spotlight: introducing Premier Car Supermarket and its path to growth

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on May 23, 2019

At CarGurus, we believe our dealers have valuable stories and insights worth sharing. Today, we’re featuring Premier Car Supermarket, a large independent dealer group near Derby.  

Picture what a perfectly-designed and located car supermarket might look like, and there’s a chance you’ll conjure up something similar to Premier Car Supermarket’s flagship site in Egginton, near Derby.

Opened just over two years ago, it sits in the centre of a heavily trafficked road network (including the busy A38 that runs between Derby and Burton upon Trent), meaning that not only is it easy to access, but it’s also visible to millions of motorists every week. What’s more, because the site was purchased as an empty field with planning permission already granted, the team at Premier Car Supermarket has been able to create a purpose-built showroom rather than adapting an existing structure.

The perfect site

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“We looked at 10 to 15 sites, but the second we saw this we knew it was perfect,” explains Neil Chapman, Premier Car Supermarket’s Managing Director. “The fact the roads circle around it is a dream. You wouldn’t want it for houses, but it’s perfect for selling cars.”

So perfect in fact, that the company is already seeking to replicate it. “At the moment, we are looking for another site further south. We aim to have that open in another two years,” says Neil. “The building will look similar but bigger. Even to the degree of having trees in the background like with the Derby site. The aim is to look a little bit softer than a normal car supermarket.”

Softer doesn’t mean quaint, however. As a purpose-built facility, the building that sits in the centre of the Egginton site is as fresh and as impressive as a high-end main dealer setup, both in appearance and scale. Neil: “We wanted this building to look modern with lots of glass, impressive size and lots of height. Our aim is to create a premium experience but on a supermarket price car.”

Attention to detail

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This attention to detail goes as far as stocking a few exotic models, such as Porsche 911s and the occasional Lamborghini to sit in the showroom – although Neil, who worked in the telecoms industry before moving into the motor trade more than a decade ago, admits that there’s also a more personal logic behind selling such cars: “For me, having cars like that in stock is the fun part. For anyone who loves cars and wants to run their own car garage, it’s good to have some nice stuff in the showroom.”

If the supercars are the icing, the cake itself is made predominantly of three-year-old, medium and large ex-lease cars in the £9,000 to £15,000 price range. You can expect there to be around 600 vehicles of this description across the company’s current three sites (along with Egginton, it owns Blackbird Crossroads Motors and Braunstone Crossroads Motors, both in Leicester), with sales totalling around 350 vehicles per month.

Of course, the make-up of that stock does change over time depending on customer demand. “Ten years ago, when we first opened, we only sold medium and large diesel cars. And in years to come it’ll probably all be electric when that takes over,” says Neil. In the meantime, as of May 2019, the balance still sits in favour of internal combustion, with around 70% of the cars sold by Premier Car Supermarket being diesel-powered. Hybrid vehicles currently make up about 5% of the stock; the rest are petrol.

The buyer journey

As well as shifts in the market, in the last decade there’s also been a big change in how people buy cars, and in particular, how well prepared they are. “A customer these days has found the vehicle on the internet, they’ve researched it and know it’s what they want. When they do come and see it, as long as we’ve done our job prepping the car correctly, they’ll buy it,” explains Neil. “So, while you get fewer people through the door than you did 10 years ago, the ones who do come are fully prepared. It’s much better for us.”

In terms of aspirations, along with the aforementioned new site further south, Neil would also like to add two or three more, and is considering future-proofing them by installing technology such as solar panels or possibly even a wind turbine to power on-site electric car chargers: “The way we are looking at it, cars are going green, so if we have a purpose-built facility that is also green it could put us in a great position.”

One thing that won’t change is the straightforward approach that has allowed the company, which currently employs around 50 people, to thrive thus far: “We price cars well and offer a great experience. I want customers to feel that they got a good deal,” concludes Neil. Whether that’s on a diesel car, an electric car or a supercar is for the market (and perhaps the bank manager…) to decide.

CarGurus is proud to be part of Premier Car Supermarket’s growth story. To learn more about how CarGurus can help your dealership, contact your rep today. Or, if you already work with us and would like to have your dealership featured as a spotlight, please get in touch with your account manager today!

Topics: case study, dealer profile, dealer spotlight