5 minutes with Oodle Cars

Grey Bear is a leading independent communications marketing agency, based in Oxford.  We are thrilled to be working with the Oodle Cars team on their marketing strategy, and so we sat down with David Clayton from Oodle Cars to ask him some questions about the company, and to gain his perspective on the used car dealer sector.  We also managed to get some great tips and tricks that we can use when buying our next car.

Hi David! Can you first tell us a little bit about Oodle Cars?

Oodle Cars is like no other dealer. You hear a lot about how dealers believe they are different, but we really are! Our whole fabric and DNA is around customer delight. If the car isn’t right, we won’t sell it to you.

So how did you come to be?

We started operations in September 2017 and joined the 13,500 car dealers that we have in the UK currently. Seems mad doesn’t it? Joining an already crowded marketplace could be seen as a challenge. And it wasn’t without its challenges; but right from Day One we set out to be something different. We were never going to be a “me too” car dealer. 

What is the one thing that our car buyers say they hate? “The dealer dance”. So we set out to be open, honest, and transparent in all our dealings with customers and use our natural empathy with each customer’s needs.  

We are a boutique car dealership team of specialists that are obsessed with delivering high quality customer service and equally high-quality cars to suit customer needs.

Sounds amazing… So, how have your customers reacted to this? 

In one word – astonishingly. Every one of our customers comments on what a pleasure it has been to buy a car from us. We make it simple, “we do what it says on the tin”. 

We strive for quality and this means that the customers also have peace of mind when they leave with the full reassurance of a trouble-free driving experience; a robust RAC 12 month warranty, 12 month breakdown cover, current MOT and service.

What is the service that you provide to your customers over and above brilliant cars?

We don’t sell cars! We provide cars that suit lives and needs – if it doesn’t, we won’t sell it. Simple. No pressure, no sales techniques, just lots of information. And a nice cup of Yorkshire tea in the process. (David says with his strong Yorkshire accent!).

From the first phone call we quickly establish an empathy, and offer an approachable, considerate, and totally pleasurable experience. We shower the customer with support if they need it and leave them to make their choice if they don’t. We pride ourselves on our communications.

What do you think makes a great used car dealer?

Easy. Us!

Seriously though - for me, it is all about getting a high quality car at the hight price.  We want the customer to feel like they have got a great deal, that they have peace of mind that their car is safe and roadworthy, and that they have the best possible opportunity to meet their family needs and budget with no unforeseen expenses down the road.

What can every customer expect from Oodle Cars?

Service and quality that delight and are above customer expectations and let me tell you, our reviews support that view too. Our prices reflect true market price for the whole package on offer - a quality car, complete with repairs based on the RAC 82 point check, up to date service, current MOT, a showroom valet, a 12 Month RAC warranty, a RAC 12 month breakdown cover. 

Do your customers need to live close to Abingdon to buy from you?

I’m a firm believer that quality will always sell – and it is the rule with our cars. We define “close to Abingdon” as being within a 50 miles radius, but only 41% of our sales actually fall within this geography. We have customers coming to us from across the UK. And we even deliver. The furthest was to Malta! Sadly we didn’t drive it there.

How would a customer know where to start when buying a car?

Firstly are you buying new or used? 

With a new car purchase then visit the many franchise dealers on the market and shop around for a best deal…but watch your pockets for up-selling as that is where the new car dealers make their money!

The used car market can be a minefield and the consequences of choosing a disreputable dealer and a bogus car can be devastating. We have seen it first-hand. We felt so strongly about this that we developed handy hints and tips to help customers through the process. 

Our lines are always open for good honest advice even if you don’t buy from us. We can introduce you to other reputable dealers. I bet no other dealer provides that service!

So, if you were buying your next used car, what three questions would you ask a car dealer?

This is a difficult one – clearly you have to check the dealer out and look at reviews, but it is the benefits that come with the car purchase that are important.

Does the car come with a reputable warranty, e.g. RAC,? Has the car got a current MOT (look at the MOT history on DVLA – it’s free)? Do you have the service history and when was the last service?

Our Oodle Car Care policy addresses these issues and much much more. If you go to our website you will see a selection of handy tips.

And how would a customer arrange their finance?

Many customers visit Oodle Cars with their finance already arranged through Hire Purchase (HP),PCPs, bank loans, a selection or cash in the bank.

However, if finance is required clearly we are very much a part of a National Car Finance company, Oodle Finance, and our easy access to funding can advise of a customers facility or not within 10 minutes or so. Another simple step.

What if something goes wrong with the car?

We have never had anything major go wrong with one of our cars, but if it does that we will help you with every step.

Our Car Care programme has been, and is, hugely successful and we have only ever had a few minor issues over the past two years. 

The lesser issues we resolve immediately and keep the customer on the road. 

Any more problematic issues would be covered by the RAC Warranty, even roadside breakdowns are covered by our one-stop-shop sales package. 

We aspire to ensure that the customer will only have normal wear and tear costs in the first year of ownership. 

You recently won an Autotrader award. Can you tell me a little bit more about this?

We are thrilled to have received this! The Auto Trader seal of approval validates our passion for Oodle Cars.

Striving for awesome is a full-time job, but it is a massive boost when Auto Trader rates you among its best dealers in the UK.

We were delighted to be part of a select group of ten companies to take part in the platform’s latest Discovery Day, which was held in Manchester last month.

The invitation came after metrics put us in the top 100 users of the Auto Trader portal. It feels great to be acknowledge for the service we provide.

So David, what was your first car?

An A35 van which I bought for £50 and had to do all my own servicing, but a great first car. I am not sure there are many around these days!

What do you drive now?

At this time I drive a Mercedes E350 AMG – aren’t I so very lucky! In fact I bought it from Oodle Cars!

Anything else you would advise your customers on when buying their next used car?

Give us a call next time you want to buy a used car before you try any other dealer! You will be so well looked after and if we don’t have a car of your choice we know a dealer who does.