31 July, 2014
We visited Graham Munt, General Manager, to ask him a few questions regarding his business and the motor trade industry in general.
1. Tell us about the business and how it has evolved.
Established in 1984 by Ben Faulkner, Fernhurst Motor Company, started life as a sport and classic car dealership. In 1986, they took on a TVR Franchise. Since then it has grown steadily. In 2006 TVR ceased manufacturing new TVRs.
Their aim is to become the largest stockist of quality used TVRs in the country and they are well on their way to achieving this.
In 2010, the premises underwent a full refurbishment and now have three showrooms displaying up to 40 TVR and other classic cars.
As well as the sales side, they also have extensive workshop facilities for TVR repairs and service.
2. Tell us about your background, how did you get into the motor trade industry?
I was a mechanic, working at Surrey Stags restoring classic cars. I came here in 1990 and have helped build the company to what it is today.
3. What is the most usual or interesting vehicle you have worked on?
A lightweight E type, low drag - there were only 12 of them made plus two spare bodies.
To create the lightweight version, the E-Type's steel monocoque tub and outer body panels were re-manufactured in aluminium and the engine dry-sumped and fitted with an alloy cylinder black, 'wide-angle' head and Lucas mechanical fuel injection, producing in excess of 300bhp.
4. What do you most enjoy about the motor trade business?
The classic cars, there is such variety and it’s such a specialist side of the market.
5. How would you say the motor trade industry has changed over the years?
The bureaucracy, there is so much more!!
6. Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?
Well hopefully if I get it right on a beach in the Caribbean!!
Classic and specialist cars aren’t just modes of transport; they mean so much more to our customers.
Modern cars today have almost become like white goods but classics have so much love and attention given to them - it’s a passion to own a classic car and we want to continue to support and grow in this market area.
7. What would you say are the challenges for your business in the future?
The overheads, the VAT etc, they all cut into any profit you are trying to make as a business.
8. Has the current economic times impacted on your business?
2012 was a bit of a low point however things have much improved.
9. If you where prime minster for the day, what would you do to help the motor trade industry?
Definitely reduced VAT and more money in the pockets for SME’s.
10. What vehicle would you most like to own?
I’d love a 1930 Bentley Blower, I could see myself in a Noddy hat, scarf and Biggles coat!
11. What advice or tips would you give to someone who is just starting in the industry?
Do your homework. Don’t cost things on the bare minimum as things will cost far more than you think.