It wasn’t the most expensive car there, mind. That gong goes to the Porsche 959 – worth around £1.5m – which was under cover and being stored for a regular client.
“We’re a global business, with customers from around the world,” says David Fellowes, group aftersales director of HR Owen, Jack Barclay’s umbrella firm. “We have one client for whom we’ll drive his Bentley from Monaco and he’ll drive it back, or vice versa. And we have plenty for whom we pick up a car from one country and deliver it back to another.” It’s also common practice for Alvi to organise shipments of cars from far-flung places simply to have them serviced. How the other half live.
How do you manage ridiculous requests? “It’s about managing expectations all the time,” explains Fellowes. “Some of our customers are used to being told ‘yes’ to everything. But there’s no point promising something impossible.”
For Fellowes, the team’s passion and willingness to go the extra mile breed success. “We had a customer who had just become a grandfather,” he says. “We made a foot-long GT identical to his and put it inside the car. He was over the moon.
“We deliver a great service. The first service a customer is very happy, the second they think ‘fine’, by the third time it’s become the norm. So what else can we do? We help when they’re in a bind.”
Despite the impressive facility, few customers see the aftersales centre: Fellowes says 95% of business is collection and delivery. As you might expect, Bentley owners stick to their service schedules. “With Bentayga or Continental GTs, you are more likely to speak with an owner, but with Mulsanne or Flying Spur, it’s more likely to be staff,” says Sean Navette, Jack Barclay aftersales manager.