MORE than 100 cars with a total value of close to £1 million have been written off after a dealership was submerged under two feet of floodwater.
But Bettridge Motors director Peter Bettridge insisted it was business as usual at the family-run Foxdale dealership following a massive mopping-up operation.
Recalling the moment he was told of the floods, he said: ‘I got a telephone call at home last thing at night saying the yard was under water. I was here within 20 minutes.
‘I could not believe me eyes – literally my whole livelihood, something we’ve worked to build up over 15 years, was under water 2ft to 2½ feet deep.
‘I’ve never seen anything like it. It had been raining all day. It was coming straight off the hills, cascading down the roads from all angles.’
A total of 112 cars were written off, 60 per cent of the dealership’s total stock, with an estimated value heading for £1 million. The written-off cars are mainly low-mileage nearly-new family saloons and hatchbacks including Ford Focuses, Vauxhall Astra and Renault Meganes. The most expensive was a Nissan Qashqai worth about £20,000.
Peter, who is one of three brothers who own Bettridge Motors, said the water had come up to the height of the vehicles’ sills and exhausts – and could potentially have affected all the wiring and electronic engine management systems.
He said it was possible the cars could have been made roadworthy again – but it was not worth taking the risk.
Foxdale born and bred Peter said: ‘The insurance company has been great. They said for the sake of our reputation it would be best if they take the whole lot of vehicles to salvage. The chances of the cars being OK is high but we don’t want customers having trouble in the future – you can’t take that chance.’
The floods not only devastated the dealership’s stock but caused damage to the company’s offices. But despite the flooding nightmare, Bettridges is open for business as normal.
Peter said: ‘We are most definitely open for business.
‘You have to make the best of a bad situation. We’ve not been resting on our laurels. We’ve been working hard to buy the right stock in the right condition at the right price. We’ve been able to purchase 35 additional cars in the last two weeks on top of the 70 that were undamaged so that customers still have a good selection of vehicles.’
Peter expressed his thanks to people in the village who had come to the aid of the business - and revealed that even other motor dealers had offered their assistance.
‘We’ve had a lot of help and it’s very much appreciated,’ he said.
Peter believes a combination of factors led to the floods but reckons changes in the village could have exacerbated problems.
He pointed out that storm water drainage for a new housing estate has yet to be completed and alterations to road surfaces may not have helped.
‘The weather has been abysmal and the rain hasn’t let up. The fields are sodden. Landowners need to make sure they maintain their drainage properly.’
More than an inch and a half of rain was recorded at Ronaldsway Airport on October 11. The following week further heavy rain, thunderstorms and hail caused havoc around the island.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west