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Dan Seaman: 50 years and still driving on

Wednesday, 2nd September, 2020 2:33pm

Dan Seaman has been in the motor trade for 50 years. A half of a century - let that sink in.

He’s seen empires rise and fall, trends come and go, currencies change - twice in this country - in that time but some things remain the same.

He founded Dan Seaman Motors in 1985 and he remains Managing Director.

He believes now, and always has, that putting the customer first is what it’s all about. That and treating people right - which starts with his staff as well as his customers. Some of his staff have been with the company for more than 32 years. Of course, many of the staff are related to him, so perhaps it’s not that surprising!

Dan Seaman Motors is a family business with no less than four of Dan’s children involved in the business, too. Gerard, Rohnan, Gavin and Annemarie also play integral roles within the business.


You could see the motor trade was in Dan Seaman’s blood. He started in Bandon in AutoRyans - a Ford dealership. His father was the foreman mechanic and his brother was the stores manager and Dan was a junior salesman. After two and a half years, he was made sales manager.

His first job was £10 a week and after the first month with commission, he was on £40.

“I thought I was a millionaire and I’d never see a poor day again, but I did!,” he laughs.

The first new car he sold cost around £910 back in the day. The equivalent in euros wouldn’t get you much now though!

From there he moved to Skibbereen and then to Clonakilty. He managed a dealership in Clonakilty for a few years until he went to Finbarr Galvins in Bandon and then he went out on his own. Dan always had a plan to start his own business.

“I came from a working class background, so I didn’t have an awful lot of money but I had to build up funds to go out on my own. I always wanted to be out on my own. I’m on my own now for the last 35 years.”

In 1985, he took the plunge and started his own dealership in Clonakilty.

“It’s a good, busy town but not a great car town,” he adds.

“Bandon is the car town to be fair. Most of the main dealers are in Bandon. There’s no main dealer now in Clonakility. Bandon is the car town, as Fermoy would be on one side and Midleton on the other side.”

Move to Cork city

He stayed in Clonakilty from 1985-1992. In ’92 he made the move to the bright lights of Cork city.

His first yard in the city was on the site near City Hall, across the water where the Clayton Hotel Cork City is now.

By 2002 he had moved to the current location on Forge Hill. The two-storey dealership has evolved over the years into a modern, state-of-the art facility.

The Seaman family operate as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for both existing and prospective car owners, offering everything from mobility vehicles to car maintenance services.

Dan Seaman Motors has established itself as the main dealership for brands such as Mitsubishi, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Fiat Professional in Cork.

He’s seen some big changes in the motor industry - not all for the better.

“When I started out, cars had three forward gears. Now I drive a car with nine forward gears! When we got four forward gears, that was unbelievable altogether! Then we got electric windows, that was a real toy! We got a big CD in the car - there’s been huge changes. Ford was the market leader then, they were way ahead of everyone else.

He’s the longest serving Mitsubishi dealer in Ireland. Mitsubishi are in Ireland since 1985 and Dan Seaman started selling them in 1986.

“My philosophy,” notes Dan, “was to treat my customers to the best of my ability. Look after your customers, I get a lot of repeat customers down through the years.

“You could ring me on a Sunday and I’d look after you. Most of my customers would have my mobile phone number and if there was anything happening on a Sunday, I’d always give them a loan of a car, even on Christmas Day. Look after your customer and a lot of them will come back to you. I have customers buying cars off me since 1971.”


With a laugh he jokes that there are no benefits to having lots of the family involved in the business!

In his 70s, Dan says that “I’m winding down now, and they’re taking over,” adding that it’s great to see his family do that and driving the business on.

Gerard is Mitsubishi Sales Manager, Rohnan is General Manager, Gavin is Sales Manager while Annemarie is Service Manager.

Positive despite


Despite the pandemic, which meant Dan Seaman’s was closed for seven weeks, Dan is positive about both this year and the future. When the dealership returned to business, the West Cork man says that “July was a good month, actually”.

He continued: “We find that the people who are coming in now have a bit of savings. They’re not spending as much as they were, they’re working from home, they’re not going to the pub for the pint or not going out for a meal, so they’ve a few extra bob.

“July was okay and we tipped along nicely for August as well - I can’t complain. We’re happy with business now.”

Dan doesn’t think 2021 will be too bad, saying: “We’ll survive it and we’ll get through it and out the other side. I paid our staff during the seven weeks.”

Due to the pandemic and the inability to operate in-person services, the team at Dan Seaman Motors strategically developed an online car-showroom for customers.

This enables customers to generate trade-in requests, apply for car finance and receive trade-in value quotes, all from the comfort of their own homes.

Dan Seaman’s has also introduced a convenient ‘test-drive-from-home’ concept, in which a member of the team will come to the customer.

That kind of customer-first approach has lead to Dan being one of the most respected automobile dealers in Cork for the past five decades. The ability of the team at Dan Seaman Motors to react and alter its offering according to circumstances means it hopes to serve Cork for a further 50 years to come.

Dan Seaman Motors

is located at Forge Hill on Kinsale Road. Ring 021-4320266 or see for more.

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