Richard Hardie
L-R: Richard Hardie, MD Philip Hardie, Rachel Hardie.

North East car dealer to drive 2021 growth with new strategy

A North East family-owned motoring business has started its engines on its future growth strategy.

Sunderland based Richard Hardie has developed its new strategy over the last 12 – 18 months, which includes working from fewer dealerships but with a bigger investment in online marketing, used car sales, and promoting FCA Group brands Fiat and Abarth alongside new brands such as MG.

Richard Hardie has been trading for almost 50 years and is one of only a few independent family-owned motoring businesses in the North East.

It now operates from three dealerships in Sunderland, Ashington, and Silverlink (north Tyneside), after disposing of two dealerships in Durham and Newcastle.

Philip Hardie, managing director, said: “The shift to focus on our stronger franchises while investing in growing used car sales and our online business has really paid off and is helping us pull through this difficult period for the UK motor trade.

“We fully expect to end this year in profit and in a much stronger position than at the end of last year.”

Covid-19 put the brakes on for car dealers across the nation with businesses closing for three months. However, used car sales are currently reaching record numbers and sales of MG models are also on the up.

Nick Hardie, sales director, commented: “MG have made a big contribution to new car sales. They’re getting great reviews from our customers and the trade. We would have sold even more if we’d been able to get more stock.”

Elsewhere, continued investment in the company’s website means that people can now complete transactions for new and used cars entirely online.

Rachel Hardie, marketing director, added: “We’re seeing some positive signs in a difficult market. Online marketing is now such a big feature of the motor trade. Our investment in this area is part of our drive to broaden customer choice.

“Showrooms are still important but more viewings and research, along with transactions, are taking place online.”

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