16/10/2015 - 10:50

John Hughes Group targets under 30s

16/10/2015 - 10:50

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Veteran car dealer John Hughes has revealed his business has cut it’s print advertising budget in half, in response to tight economic conditions, but was exploring ways to tap into the under-30s market.

John Hughes

Veteran car dealer John Hughes has revealed his business has cut its print advertising budget in half, in response to tight economic conditions, but was exploring ways to tap into the under-30s market.

Speaking at an American Chamber of Commerce in Australia event today in Perth, the owner of John Hughes Group said while he was confident tough times wouldn’t last, he was using the current downturn as a wake-up call to try new strategies.

Mr Hughes, who admits to avoiding technology, said he had been disappointed by young people’s penchant for online shopping, and what he thought was a singular focus on finding the cheapest price.

John Hughes being in business in Victoria Park for 46 years, reputation, integrity, all of that, I don’t think that cuts a lot of mustard with the under-30s today,” he said.

“It’s happening to everybody, it’s boiling everything down to the lowest common denominator, price.”

To counteract this, he said John Hughes Group was set to air new television ads aimed at encouraging young people to visit his dealership, rather than search online, because of the added services his bricks and mortar business could provide.

He likened navigating Perth’s slowing economy to driving a manual car and urged companies not to be too frustrated by the need to downshift.

“We’re changing down, I think we’re probably in third, maybe getting back up into fourth, we’re a long way off fifth gear yet,” Mr Hughes said.

“We’re (going) over a hill, but the hill doesn’t go on forever, it’s how we handle it.”

Speaking separately to Business News, Mr Hughes confirmed plans dating back a few years for an initial public offering had been put on the back shelf for the time being.

Mr Hughes, who is famous for taking 10-minute lunch breaks and being the first person in the office and last to leave, said he was not yet ready to relinquish control.

“I’ve got two other directors ... and I’ve got a very good team of hands on management ... but I don’t have in place a firm succession plan,” he said.

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