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heycar meets Chris Bushby

Written By Andrew Brady

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Chris Bushby is the fifth person to sit in the hot seat for our heycar meets series. Chris is the Used Vehicle Marketing Manager at Pentagon and knows the industry better than most, having been with the dealer group for over two decades. We wanted to tap into that experience and get his opinion on an aspect of the industry which often goes under the radar, pre-registered cars.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

It’s trying to get all of the vehicles we have in stock advertised and make sure everything works across all of our channels. It’s a constant battle and as with anything, as soon as you fix one thing something else breaks.The biggest part of my job is keeping an eye on everything and ensuring all of our stock is being advertised as it should be. It’s a bit of a juggling act and we have to concentrate on the bigger channels that are also the most expensive because we know as soon as something goes wrong, we don’t get the enquiries and we don’t get the sales so we can never just assume everything is working properly.

If you were a car, what make and model would you be and why?

I would be something like the new Ford Kuga. It’s practical, efficient and also quite adaptable. If I was a van it would be something like a Ford Transit as they’ve been around forever, they’re the backbone of what we do and having been at Pentagon for 22 years now, I would consider myself quite a vital person in the organisation.

What are your road trip essentials?

Petrol is always a good one, you can’t get far without that! Joking aside, the main one would probably be my phone. When I’m out I usually get a lot of work calls and emails. Apple CarPlay and the other technology around today are so good that you can connect to your phone so easily and it’s particularly important when everyone’s lives often revolve around the internet and our phones these days.

If you could take a road trip anywhere, where would it be and why?

I would love to go to Monaco because I’m a big fan of Formula One and the Monaco GP is always interesting to watch. The area around there looks very interesting (and very expensive!) but I would love to be able to drive around the roads where they do the actual Grand Prix and then to go and see the race live would be fab!

Who would be your favourite celebrity passenger?

I would choose Richard Branson. I think he’s really inspirational, I like people who think outside the box and believe that anything is possible. He’s someone who comes up with ideas that everyone else initially thinks are a bit daft but he can turn them into reality and then make them successful. I really admire him for what he’s done throughout his life.

Why is there such a lack of consumer awareness about pre-registered cars? How do Pentagon attempt to overcome that challenge?

Firstly, pre-registered cars are the same as brand new cars. The only difference is, if you buy one you won’t be the first registered keeper on the logbook.

The biggest cause for a lack of awareness is nobody uses one term for pre-registered vehicles. Of course, they are all advertised on lots of different channels but they all seem to be called something different and even within our company they can be referred to as nearly new, delivery miles and pre-reg. With so many different terms being used, it’s easy for the consumer to get confused.

I think calling them pre-registered vehicles across the board would certainly improve general awareness. I think some companies don’t like to refer to them as pre-registered, maybe there’s a bit of a stigma that they aren’t really brand new vehicles so maybe they try to get around it by calling them something else. At the end of the day, they are literally the same as a brand new vehicle. It's just that they’ve already been registered.

Just having one clear, defined description and a simple explanation of pre-registered vehicles would really help.

A separate issue is that no one is incentivised to sell them either, the new car sales teams are trying to hit their targets selling brand new, unregistered vehicles, while the used sales team are trying to sell second hand vehicles so they almost sit in the middle.

We try to push our sites to concentrate on pre-registered sales too and we’ve found that the sites with combined new and used sales teams tend to perform better when responsibilities are shared around so that could be something to consider too.

For more information on pre-registered/nearly new cars check out our handy explainer blog here.

Chris Bushby