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Gloucestershire Business News

Staycations boost Gloucestershire motor dealership as demand for motorhomes accelerates

The 102-year-old Warners Motor Group in Gloucestershire has seen soaring demand for motorhome rentals as holidaymakers plan UK trips because of restrictions on overseas travel.

The family-owned firm was forced to close its showrooms and furlough most of its 75 staff during lockdown, but has kept its servicing and maintenance operations open for NHS vehicles and key workers since the start of the pandemic.

Now its showrooms in Gloucester and Tewksbury are back open and managing director Mark Warner says he is seeing strong demand from car buyers who want to avoid public transport when they return to work, though he anticipates revenues for 2020 will be significantly down on last year.

Lloyds Bank has provided Warners with a loan through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to support the firm's working capital needs during these extremely difficult and unprecedented times.

Mr Warner said: "We needed cash to help us get through this crisis and this funding has enabled us to navigate our way through the lockdown and get back open as soon as possible to offer customers what they need.

"From day one of lockdown we have worked extremely hard to keep the business ticking over, offering a completely safe service for the local community who need us.

"Our motorhome rental business, M5 Motorhome Hire, has gone from a total collapse in bookings to seeing huge demand for UK based staycation holidays due to foreign travel restrictions and we are hoping things will recommence from the July 4, when camping and caravan sites are expected to reopen.

"There is definitely increased demand for car servicing and MOTs and we are seeing customers who currently don't want to use public transport driving up the demand for cheaper cars."

Warners is one of the only family-run franchised motor dealers in Gloucestershire, selling new and used Peugeots, Citroëns, Isuzus and commercial vehicles, as well as offering maintenance and servicing, parts and accessories from their leisure division.

Social distancing measures have been implemented at both sites in Tewkesbury and Gloucester including unaccompanied test drives for buyers, plus PPE and extra training for all staff.

Daniel Tregunna, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, said: "Warners Motor Group has been serving the community for more than 100 years and it has continued to do so during lockdown, helping the NHS and key workers stay on the road.

We remain hugely proud of our long relationship with Warners, which has diversified over the years, helping it weather this storm, and I'm sure it will be firing on all cylinders again soon."

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