ONE of Cork’s longest-established motor companies has said growth and expansion remain the focus despite a challenging year, as they announced plans to expand their existing car franchises this summer.
Kevin O’Leary Group has become a household name in Munster over the last 58 years, with retail motor locations in Silversprings, Bandon and Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
Despite a challenging year for the motor industry due to the pandemic, Group Director Kevin O’Leary has said the company is committed to further growth and expansion. Mr O’Leary announced that there will be the third addition to their existing Opel and Honda brands in Silversprings, from the beginning of June, as they have now entered a partnership with Suzuki Automotive.
He added “Suzuki has a strong customer base in Cork and are one of the top ten manufacturers in the world, they also remain positioned as a very stylish and affordable brand. This is a great opportunity for us and we are delighted to welcome Suzuki to its new home in Cork.” The new seven-car showroom will include a dedicated Suzuki customer lounge and the indoor handover area will also be a first for Suzuki customers in Cork.
Suzuki Ireland’s Commercial Manager, Declan Maguire said: “The new partnership with Kevin O Leary Group will further assist our loyal Suzuki customers in Cork. We look forward to working together over the coming years as our brand enhances the choice of full hybrid cars and SUV’s. I would like to wish Kevin and the team in Silversprings all the best in assisting Suzuki customers with their sales and service needs.”
Like many other industries, Mr O’Leary acknowledged that it had been a challenging year with lockdowns but added that the group had worked hard to adapt and improvise during the pandemic, with a more efficient, online focussed approach to car sales.
He said: “It has been a tough year but we have adapted accordingly, we’re lucky to have such diligent and efficient staff. We’ve had to really focus on the online sales element of our business and we have refined it significantly since the pandemic began. We are very fortunate to have been able to remain open for service throughout this level 5 lockdown and we have also operated click and deliver fully for vehicle sales.
“We’ve had to become much quicker and dynamic with online inquiries and we’ve been utilising personalised videos to send to our prospective customers. We notice that customers currently enquiring about cars tend to be serious buyers and we need to be very engaged when it comes to their interest.
“Necessity is the mother of invention and we’ve been pleased with how we made the transition to complete online sales platforms and how our customers have adopted this new way of doing business. We will be aiming to maintain and continue this aspect of our service in addition to in-person sales once we’re permitted,” he added.
Sales Manager at Kevin O’Leary Silversprings Dermot O’Sullivan admitted that they missed the in-person element of car sales and were hugely excited at the prospect of reopening the showroom fully.
Mr O Sullivan added “We have missed the interaction with customers, of course, we interact on the phones as well but we are looking forward to re-opening with a newly renovated showroom and the addition of the Suzuki dealership.
“We have exciting plans to launch the brand at Silversprings this summer and we feel the addition of Suzuki will greatly enhance our existing offering for both new and existing customers. The Suzuki range is innovative and ideal for city driving,” he added.
Group Director Kevin O’Leary said they anticipated a “strong” summer for car sales and added they had experienced strong pent-up demand when they reopened last May after the first lockdown and that the Group is very optimistic ahead of a full reopening this summer.