The motor trade is a tougher place than it’s ever been, independent garages are closing at an alarming rate as large trade centre dealerships grip more and more of the market share.
People’s buying habits have changed since the arrival of the internet and the days of heading to a car garage based purely on its owner’s reputation are becoming a thing of the past.
These trends aren’t applying to everyone though, and those who are defying the odds are thriving in the process. One of these individuals is Adrian Thompson of specialist car dealership RS-Direct.
Located in Yate, Bristol, RS-Direct has, in a relatively short time, established itself as THE place to purchase numerous popular cars right now.
RS-Direct’s bread and butter was and continues to be supplying, maintaining and tuning Ford RS cars. At any one point, a UK buyer searching for a mk2 Focus RS is likely to come across the fleet of RS-Direct. Renowned for pristine stock and a straight up sales approach, RS-Direct prides itself on its customer service.
In more recent times, RS-Direct has evolved to supply further specialist cars including Nissan’s GTR and BMW M cars. Browse the company’s site now and you’ll even find cars from Lamborghini.
We met up with Adrian of RS-Direct and asked him a few questions on the company and his success.
Adrian, as the UK’s number 1 Ford Rallye Sport specialist, where did the love for the blue oval come from ?
My love for a blue oval started many years ago, I enjoyed the touring cars on TV, in particular the RS500s, but I always said, before I passed my test, my dream car would be an Escort RS Turbo series 1
Tell us a bit about the first car you sold at 15 years old..
I was taught to drive at a very young age so my passion for cars started very early on. I purchased my first car at the age of 15, this was a less than immaculate Ford Escort RS2000, but I did turn a very quick profit out of it, in fact, I almost doubled my money. From that point on I was hooked on buying and selling sporty cars.. even after getting caught by the police driving it one school night with my mates.
What was the first car you sold under the business?
The first car I ever sold through the business was actually a Sierra Cosworth in white with Tiger stripes, incredible to think I sold the car back then for around £12,000 – the same car today would be probably be worth £40,000, if not more.
Out of all the cars you’ve sold, what’s your favourite?
My favourite car has to be the Lamborghini Aventador just for the pure showmanship alone, although we recently sold a McLaren MP4 12 C which was a very close contender to the Aventador, just for the pure engineering involved in the car.
Tell us what’s different about a car that’s sold by RS-Direct compared to other dealerships?
I think what sets us apart from other dealers is every car we sell we present it like we would like to buy it ourselves, we don’t feel the need to cut corners and we are 100% honest.
Your success could easily inspire others wanting to do the same thing, what advice would you give them?
I do get asked this question rather a lot, it’s probably because people think we just drive around in nice cars all day haha! To become successful in the motor trade you have to set yourself apart from the competition and specialise – if you specialise, you get to know both your customers and the brand inside out, and this helps no end when issues arise as you know how to put them right.
Personally, what’s the best car you’ve ever owned?
It’d have to be the Aventador..
The latest Focus RS is everywhere right now, how much are you guys getting involved with these?
We’ve bought 6 in the last week alone so it looks like we will repeating the same pattern as we did with the previous model, which is nice as we’ve had a blast over the last 5 years.
You’ve got a few classics in the showroom, will you be holding on to these cars or are they going to be part of a growing collection?
I think they won’t be going anywhere soon, we’d like to find a white Sierra Cosworth next but the pinnacle would be an RS200
You’ve gone from RS Fords to M cars, GTRs and now a few supercars have passed through your hands, what’s next?
We intend to keep doing what we’re doing – the supercars are an indulgence and reward for the business doing well. It could be described as the best job in the world – buying and selling supercars and fast Fords, and we think it is.