A state-of-the-art photo booth and the internet are enabling a family-owned dealership in the Hutt Valley to sell cars around New Zealand.
A constant stream of vehicles leaves the Lower Hutt Railway Avenue yard at the Brendan Foot Supersite, sight unseen, for customers in destinations from Whangarei to Dunedin.
Many buyers are repeat customers and some fly in to collect their purchases to drive home.
The company has invested in a high-tech photo booth, which includes a turntable the vehicle sits on. Exterior photos are taken from many angles. Exterior and interior photos are shown on the website with extensive information about the vehicle, including fuel economy and safety ratings. Many of the cars have been serviced by the company from new.
Used vehicle sales manager, Keith Lovett, says they receive inquiries from around New Zealand as well as locally from the website.
Almost all their stock is New Zealand new these days and many vehicles have originally been sold new through their five franchises – Holden, Kia, Hyundai, Suzuki and Mitsubishi.
Keith believes the business can claim to have the largest volume of sales in the greater Wellington region.
“Because we have five major franchises it makes us the place to come to. If we can’t find it here it probably does not exist.”
Keith says he has never worked in such a busy place in his 30-plus years in the motor vehicle industry.
With higher standards for used imports Keith says there is renewed interest in buying New Zealand new, especially because the service history is usually known.
The company database with tens of thousands of customers is one of its greatest strengths.
“Follow-up calls to customers and a commitment to keeping them happy results in high retention,” he says.
He says that as a family-owned business rather than a corporate, customers are “people buying off people.”
The company recently produced its own promotional metal water bottle branded with the company values that include family, integrity, respect and accountability.
Because so many family car-buying decisions are made by women the company has welcomed women into key roles throughout the business.
Keith enjoys the teamwork among the staff and the way they are supported by the Foot family.
The firm’s origins date back to 1973 when Brendan Foot and his uncle, Bill Foot, went into business together selling used cars on the Railway Avenue site. The venture was successful and Brendan later set up under his own name. He began with a staff of one car groomer.
In the 1980s son, Matthew, joined the business followed by brother, David, in 2002.
They moved into new car sales in the late 1980s with Fiat (briefly) before taking on the popular Holden dealership. Other franchises have been added over the years to widen the choice for their loyal customer base.
Founder and managing director, Brendan Foot, says it is the old-fashioned customer care that matters.
“We’re doing a lot of new things and we stock all the best new vehicles, but it’s the old-fashioned things that mean a lot. Good service, good customer care.
The people who own the business are here doing the business. It’s not just a name on a sign – we’re here and we care about what we do.
“From buyers of new or used cars, or people who come to us for vehicle service, all our customers are valued and important to us.”
It’s also the philosophy behind service centres in Upper Hutt, Wellington and Lower Hutt.
Dealer principal, Matthew Foot, says “We know that getting your car in for a service or warrant is not always easy, so we wanted to ensure we had convenient locations for everyone.”
Sponsorship and support
Supporting community groups where they can is also part of the Brendan Foot philosophy.
A recent approach from the Wellington Brain Injury Association for sponsorship of a car saw a win-win outcome.
Keith says that donating a car wasn’t a possibility but what the business could do was sell them, at a reduced price, a reliable vehicle that had a good history and fitted their budget. It’s a practical way the company can help.
The car, funded by donations, is used to take the association’s clients to the many appointments they have with various agencies following an injury.
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For more information;
To go to the Brendan Foot website click here