Martin Ward (pictured) manufacturer relationships manager at Cap HPI talks how dealerships attract attention and test driving Skoda's in the Palermo mountains.
New and used car sales have gone quiet, with new car registrations down again.
You don’t need to read the papers, or listen to the news to know this.
No, you just need to drive past dealers, and realise that while car sales are down, the sales of balloons filled with helium have gone up.
When the job goes quiet, dealers rush out to buy colourful balloons and tie them to windscreen wipers, door mirrors and front grilles.
In fact, anywhere to attract much-wanted attention. Does it work? Do buyers flock in to look at cars? Who knows.
But they do attract attention to a fairly deserted forecourt and showroom.
It’s a well tried and tested way of getting more footfall, and, in these days of the internet, massive advertising budgets and TV ads, sometimes the good old (and cheap) ways of getting attention might work best..?
Flew from Gatwick to Palermo, courtesy of EasyJet, to link up with Škoda. In the past both the airline and the cars were regarded as budget brands.
But now neither are seen as being budget or cheap, as both offer value, yet quality.
Škoda’s Karoq, pronounced car rock, is 4,382mm long so sits in a very popular sector of the market.
First we drove the 2.0TDI 4x4 through Sicily’s pretty countryside, up into the mountainous area with a bit of off-roading. It was a joy to drive.
After lunch, the best was to come, when we drove the 1.0-litre three-cylinder 115PS petrol version. The engine worked perfectly in this SUV, such a quiet and refined motor.
Other engines that will be offered will be the all-new 1.5-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel and most will come with the option of a DSG auto gearbox.
Three models at launch: SE, SE L and Edition, with prices starting from £20,875. My choice? The fully loaded SE L, priced at a reasonable £23,165.