Q: Who are you and what is your business?
A: Bettine Evans FIMI, aged over 50. Business; Ongar Bridge Motor Co, Land Rover and specialist for all 4x4 Sales, Service, repair and MOT.
Q: How did you start in the motor industry?
A: My experience in the industry running our own businesses is, well, vast – more than 40 years, starting in Lambretta and Vespa Sales and Service, then used cars, then as a Toyota main dealer for 23 years. I had a brief 15month spell in retirement then opened Ongar Bridge in 1996 where turnover is now in excess of £10million a year! I guess now we’ll work until we drop!
Q: How do you see the future for the IGA?
A: It is crucial that we promote the IGA so that it becomes as well respected as the NFDA. We need to offer customers a safe and secure marketplace where they can be confident of fair and honest servicing and pricing.
Q: What are the big issues facing the industry and what can the IGA do to address those issues and to
help its members?
A: The Big Issue and Number One problem, is how the used car industry is perceived in all respects. The second biggest issue, without doubt, is the state of the current economic climate. We MUST educate customers to trust RMI member garages and to avoid the cheaper end of the market whether for vehicle sales or purchase, servicing, repair and MOT. There is no such thing as a free lunch. We need to find an inexpensive way of getting our message across, to encourage even higher standards for all our members and to make IGA members impressive in every respect.
Q: How should the IGA’s money be spent?
A: Let’s look forward and spend the money on marketing ourselves, and on raising standards through ongoing monitoring of all members by members and RMI staff where possible. Let’s really fight for customer satisfaction as a body as well as individual businesses. Let us each have a membership list of ALL IGA members and recommend these businesses to customers who are moving, going on holiday or, as is often the case at Ongar Bridge, have purchased a car from us but need a garage closer to home for servicing. We can ask our customers for feedback and monitor IGA standards generally in this way. DO NOT OFFER DISCOUNTS. None of us can afford to do excellent work at a discounted rate for each other or anyone else.
Q: What is your message for the IGA and other members?
A: As an executive member, things are definitely looking up since Stuart James took over. Now it’s up to us to maintain that momentum. And to other IGA members I would ask this question – what are YOU doing to help our industry and promote it?