Here I am, the person who promotes a brand and sells cars facing discontent customers… I’m thinking right now that the boss had hated me so much that’s why he threw me in the lions’ cage. How come since we aren’t doing repairs in the warranty’s program, one will go through winter to another town driving more that 200 km when the car has a problem be it minor? And who would receive a car which hasn’t been sold by that dealer to fix it? They did because perhaps we were lucky or we smiled nice, always polite and honest. I’am wondering even today how one could function in those conditions. Even if we were not licensed, we never let a car goes out from our yard without a proper diagnosis.
The discrepancy between the sale and maintenance departments was huge. We understood in the following period which was the reason behind that reality. I mean we knew that from two of them which one had been asking more investments and which one was making more money, though we were too small to have a voice.
It’s february 1st 2006 and we are sold as cattle. Now, the former boss wants me back in his holding. „Chief, listen if you do that who is gonna work with them?” Some of us hoped for the best with the new investor. And it was till one point. We grew up. From less 200 hours/month we reached 1000 hours. From five we became eleven. Thus same location, same four working points. The new owner understood that if you want profit you have to invest first, at least in products, services and people. We were sold but not moved. So for almost two years (1.8 months) we developed in a rented space to the biggest agony of the previous owner. We showed him we really can run pretty good amount of cars through his yard.
I don’t want to go technic or dig deeply in this affair as everyone knows what’s happening in a section for repairs. Nobody goes to see a doctor if it’s healthy, perhaps only those people who pay a big amount on a medical insurance, do that. This is pretty the same with cars, if you have a new and expensive car you go at least, annually for an oil change, with a second-hand car we run it till it’s dead. Similar with us people, we only visit a service when is too late or have something to complain about. And who was in charged with customers care’s deparment and many other things? Things went big and we found ourselves working twelves hours in a day. Besides managing the team, I could not give away my truly love, PR and advertising. For another old passion, riding a Mustang I got myself in a rally as a copilot with a vintage beast coupe from 67. Clients, passion, spare time what else someone can dare for? Those were two of the best years or my career, hard work and reward.
As any miracle, good things don’t last long. The new investor found out that till the end of October 2008 had to move out as the buildings had to be one with the ground. So what…? We found ourselves packed and nowhere to go. We had promises that in one month we’ll settle down somewhere and the customers will follow us. Of course we couldn’t keep in our return that promise. Finally, the owner of the dealership through another person (mister boss) rented for maintenance’s department an empty place but not ready to be open. Again the sales’ department was a priority and got opened before we had to move. For short-term this was the best solution, a business has to make some money somehow. For long-term if someone do the math will see that even if the investment is bigger for a repair’s section, the profit comes as a consequence and in a higher percentage that the one produced by selling cars. And in fact, things cannot be separated and put them in a competition. As an auto dealer you can’t have only one department or going drastically if you buy an electronic items it’s a minimum request that you can always repair it in the same store, right? Not to mention that everyone feels an economic crisis and we rather fix what we have instead of going for the new, what ever means that new.
The maintenance’s team and part of the customers saw 335 days passing by, waiting for that complex to be done. We still got paid thus that did not keep the customers close.
In september 2009 we were moving in a new house… a house which wasn’t ours however a less smart brain and so on… invested 100.000 euro. Expecting that after one year without longevity for a service and in a middle of crisis, we can make same thousand hours or perhaps double… We reached 500 hours without repairing crashed cars only from mechanics and electronics. It didn’t matter how many times I would say ”listen my smile isn’t anymore enough for the insurance companies, everyone pays them”. We argued a lot, not one time I said to him come here stay at least one week and see and feel the situation do not talk me from books…, not even. Eventually he (mister boss not the investor) gets his ass in our town for a day. So what? Like this wasn’t enough, the guy who owned the space at that time and in which were trying to get reborn comes and says „I have been sold the land, you have to move out till March 2011!”
Now, you will say I’m crazy or a sadist but I actually congratulated the guy. How many times he would try to meet the „mister boss” and the untouched investor and he would be rejected? Of course he wanted more money for the rent, which makes sense, everybody has to eat a bread. So they had to take their toys and move from where they came. And for us, the team… not much left from “Ford for life” or “blue blood”
This „move out” is the burden of almost nine years. Perhaps an anticipation for my future lust for travelling? I mean we know that great things ask for sacrifice, tolerance and compromise but that was too much. We had to live and see again that what we have built was falling apart. I couldn’t face, perhaps, another packing. Or the team gone? Like this ends a role for a brand where there is still, perhaps a passion left or some blue tears.