Joe Duffy Motors, one of Ireland’s largest motor dealer groups, is launching a new used car supermarket network promising a “no haggle” buying experience with fixed prices, while also offering motorists the chance to sell their cars, without having to buy one in return.
Zucar’s first showroom and workshop will open in Eastgate Business Park, Cork in April, with future stores opening in Limerick, Dublin and Drogheda.
“ZuCar is a new concept on the Irish market,” said Gavin Hydes, group chief executive of Joe Duffy Motors. “It’s a fixed model of selling, it’s non-negotiable, so the price you see is the price you pay. We offer people a valuation on their car which will hold for seven days, which means even if they don’t buy a car from us they can still bring their current car to us and we’ll buy it from them. It is also a seven-day a week operation and rather than sales executives we have Zu guides.”
He said it aims to be more like a high-street retail operation with none of the usual hard sell associated with the used-car market. The concept is based on consumer research and aims to serve those who find buying or selling a used car challenging.
“Everything is fixed, it’s non-negotiable. It’s backed by our own finance. If you don’t like the product after seven days you can bring it back and get your money back. If you don’t like it after 30 days we will exchange it for another one. The warranty package we sell has maintenance included, so servicing is covered.”
The cars on sale will be between one and eight years of age with a maximum of 160,000km. “Zucar will tap into our 14 franchise outlets to bring in vehicles,” he said. These will be supplemented by buying stock direct from consumers who would otherwise have advertised their vehicles privately on websites such as DoneDeal.
Hydes says the total investment in the Zucar division will be in excess of €10 million over three years, along with stocking.
It follows last year’s €35 million investment programme by Joe Duffy Motors Group, when it acquired a 10-acre site at Airside in Swords and a 5½-acre site at Charlestown in north Dublin, where it is developing three new outlets for BMW, Volkswagen and Porsche.
At Charlestown, the dealer group has opened a new €13 million BMW facility, the largest single investment in a BMW outlet in the Republic. The neighbouring VW facility opened last November, following an €11 million investment. This spring the new Porsche facility, including a 25-car showroom, will begin operations. Last year it also began a new development in Drogheda, Co Louth, and purchased Motorpark Athlone, a Ford and Volvo dealership previously owned by the Galway-based Motorpark Group, close to the midlands town.
The last filed accounts show profits at the auto dealer group for 2017 rose 3 per cent to €8.7 million on turnover of €282 million.