'Customers are driven by price -- but also how they are dealt with'
JEANNIE O'Malley and Pat Tiernan set up Pat Tiernan Motors in Shanagolden, Co Limerick, in 1999 and opened a second outlet in Limerick city in 2008. The company employs 12 members of staff.
• What's your own background?
I have an Economics degree but I first dipped my toe in the retail sector with Aer Rianta in Russia, where I learnt the importance of customer care. I started in the motor industry in 1990 and have worked in all aspects of the business since.
• are you a car person?
Yes, I love cars. I think it dates back to when I was growing up and my cousin had an old MG Convertible. It was a big treat to get a drive in it with the roof down and the sun shining. Summers seemed to be sunnier back then!
• What do you most like about your job?
The fact that no two days are ever the same.
• if you could work in another industry, what would it be?
The travel industry.
• if you had a limitless budget, what car would you buy?
The Nissan 370 Z Roadster. I have a thing for convertibles. It's a beautiful car to drive and the engine sounds amazing. I love the lines of the car and how it handles.
• what are the two most common questions when people are buying a car?
How much their trade-in is worth and how much is the road tax on the new car. We are lucky, Nissan has a good line-up of cars in the A (cheapest) tax band.
• have people shown much interest in buying electric cars, like the nissan leaf?
There is huge interest. I recently had a new Leaf owner drive from Galway to visit us. He loved its driveability and was amazed at how cheap it is to run. Infrastructure is vital to the success of electric cars.
• which models are selling well at the moment?
The Qashqai and Juke, and Nissan has launched a new range of commercials.
• What usually clinches a deal? is it price, trade-in value or equipment?
Customers are driven by price at the moment but also how they feel they are being dealt with. The service on offer from the dealership is also important.
• describe what a typical day involves.
My primary focus is on the after-sales side. If the sales department is busy, I help out in the showroom. A normal day for me is to check out our service bookings and parts stock, deal with accounts and keep an eye on what vehicles are selling and what stock is coming in.