Former Top Gear and Fifth Gear presenter, Vicki Butler-Henderson was on a film shoot this month at AZ Autos (an independent car dealer) in Hitchin. Auto Trader commissioned the video, selecting AZ Autos as a location out of a possible 6,000 independent dealers.
In 1959 the British Motor Corporation created a car that was meant as an economical solution to a fuel crisis in the UK and an answer to the German bubble cars of the era, but little did they know it would go on to become one of the most iconic features of Britain even to this day.
The project starts with AZ Autos donating a car to the charity Phase who work with local schools in Hitchin. We will then take two students out of The Priory School in Hitchin once a week for 12 x 2 hour blocks. Over the 12-week project the students will be tasked with renovating, sourcing parts, cleaning, advertising and selling this vehicle. All revenue generated from the sale of the vehicle will be used by the charity Phase to invest in services for young people struggling with mental and emotional issues.
Electric cars were first built and tested as far back as the 1800's. The first versions were mainly for battery powered locomotives but this prompted others to turn the technology to cars. Many models were developed and used throughout the world, however they increasingly became "hybrids" with petrol engines as well and because the cost of fuel was so low the use of electric motors declined rapidly until only petrol engines remained.
Dan Drew from Hitchin’s Hub Church visited the refugee camp in Calais known as ‘The Jungle’ on a fact finding visit earlier this month.
After meeting church elders Dan and fellow Hub Church members, promised to return with a carpet – for St Michael’s, the only place of worship in the camp which houses between 3,000 to 5,000 people – and which is growing daily.
Dan said: “We met with a church leader called Solomon. When we asked what he needed to help he immediately replied: ‘A carpet.’
“On week 8 we were looking at some of the buyers and some of the questions that they had on the car. Then we answered and told them that it was checked by an official mechanic and that it had the log book (V5) and the service history and said what we had changed.”
With all the research done it was now time to advertise the little Volkswagen Polo. Tom and Luke’s first task was to write the text for the advert. They selected all the technical data and decided on the following advert text:
By this point Tom and Luke had checked the Polo, ordered and fitted the parts, washed and cleaned it and it was now ready for selling. Before they could sell it they needed to know where they were going sell it and how much they could sell it for. After a quick introduction to the 4 P’s of marketing (Product, Place, Promotion and Price), they set to work at researching where was the best place to sell cars.
It was early on a Tuesday morning, there was a cold frost with the temperature at only 4 degrees and the students, Tom and Luke, were over at AZ Autos Used Car Select Centre ready for a mornings work. No car is ready for sale without a good clean and valet and that was their task this week. Tom and Luke layered up and put on their overalls.
Tom had the job this week of calling around suppliers to get a cost for all the parts needed and negotiate the best possible deal. We first had a brainstorm about why it was important to get the best possible price on parts and how that would affect the profit of any potential sale
Tom wrote down the following list of parts to get prices on:
Battery Fuel Filler Cap Front Drop Link CV Boot Wheel Cylinder Driveshaft Oil Seal Spark Plugs CD Stereo
As Luke was off school due to sickness it was left to Tom to survey the Volkswagen Polo. With the help of AZ Autos Junior technician, James Westley, Tom used an industry standard 50-point check sheet to evaluate the little Polo’s mechanical condition.
Tom was given 2 hours to thoroughly check the vehicle and came up with the following items that needed changing:
The two students, Luke and Tom, were put into a business interview situation. David Alvarez (Director of AZ Autos) and Kieran Murphy (Director of Phase) quizzed the students on what they knew about their organizations, what are the students strengths and weaknesses, how would they approach certain situations and why they were the right students for this project.
Both Directors came armed with questions from their recruiting repertoire and then the students were scored on the following fields:
With the amount of choice now on the Internet with Autotrader and eBay, finding a good genuine used car is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. We see a lot of people who have been stung when buying a used car. For this reason I thought I would blog a few hints and tips from my experience when it comes to buying a used car.