Tim Smart, the Sales & Development Manager for Forest Road Garage Ltd., talks about his return to the motor trade and reveals what a fantastic year the garage has had so far.
Wow, what a summer I’ve had!
Moving back into the motor trade at the beginning of June, I really didn’t know quite what to expect. A lot has changed. Customers are far better informed about products and offers, thanks to the Internet, and cars have many more technical features than 10 years ago, but the fundamentals of this industry have stayed the same: Customers still want to be looked after, have all of their needs met and get good value for their hard earned cash, whether buying a £3,000 used car or a £30,000 new car.
The summer has gone by in a bit of a whirlwind. Mazda launched the all-new Mazda 2, the brand new CX-3 and, perhaps most importantly for us and for Guernsey motorists, the 4th generation of the sporty MX-5, which I can report is a driver's dream! On the Kia side we’ve also seen the new version of the cee’d with its eco boost engine and its already good looks were freshened up. We are eagerly awaiting more new product from Kia early next year.
On the events front we participated in the GMTA motor show at the national Hill Climb, had a stand at Seafront Sunday and braved the weather at the West Show. We also held launch parties for all of our new cars, which took a considerable amount of organisation, a few stiff drinks and a lot of support from the great team here. All of our launches were a major success; we’ve seen significant increases in order volumes across the whole range. The supply of cars allowing, 2015 should be one of the best years for new Mazda sales in some time.
I’m pleased to report that it has not all been hard work! I went to Rockingham International Speedway for the CX-3 launch, where we evaluated the new car against key competition on the road and track, which was great fun and a real test of the cars and my own driving skills. Needless to say the Mazda came out on top in most areas with the biggest gap being in the driving experience. Their Skyactiv technology really does set their cars apart and is far from being just a marketing initiative. With responsive, agile and fun driving dynamics, plus optimised engines and transmissions, every car in the Mazda range is an absolute joy to drive.
The major highlight of the summer for me was driving the all-new MX-5 across Yorkshire, including a few runs up the spectacular Harewood Hill Climb course. We had stormy skies throughout the day but plenty of dappled sunshine breaking through the clouds, which allowed us to get the roof down and enjoy flat out topless motoring - just what the MX-5 was built for!
So, as we move into autumn, we're looking forward to a more settled period for Mazda and a busier one for Kia. I’m eagerly awaiting the all-new Kia Sportage, one of the island’s best selling cars, as well as a brand new Optima, the heavily revised cee’d with it’s new GT line, plus a lot more spectacular Kia offers.
Member since: 7th October 2015
I'm co owner of Tapenade Delicatessen, a busy little deli & off licence on the seafront, opposite the Crown Pier. As you'd expect I love food & drink but I'm also a motorbike fanatic and a keen gardener....