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Renault launches Fluence ZE to dealers

Renault has launched its new Fluence Z.E electric vehicle saloon to dealers that will be selling the car at an event in the north east.

Benfield Renault in Newcastle has also been confirmed as the dealer that will be stocking the Fluence ZE in the north east. The dealership is already selling the new Kangoo Van Z.E, from the site.

Dealer representatives from dealerships in Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England got the chance to test-drive the electric saloon at the Gateshead College Performance Test Track in Washington.

Andy Heiron, Renault’s head of electric vehicles for the UK, said the Washington based Performance Track was selected to showcase the new Fluence Z.E due to the EV infrastructure already in place in the North East.

Heiron said: “We recognise North East England as one of the foremost connected EV networks in the UK.

“Many of the dealerships who will be invited to attend will be travelling from areas outside the North East with little EV charging at the moment, so a visit to this EV-ready region will help give them additional confidence that electric vehicles are the transport of the future.

“Our unique model of battery hire helps to offer an overall cost level which is competitive with diesel and which we think will make electric vehicles a real, viable alternative for both businesses and individuals.”

Josey Wardle project manager for Charge your Car, the North East’s Plugged in Places scheme, said: “With well over 300 EV charging posts now in place throughout the region, we’re well placed to support the growing number of EV drivers taking to the road in the coming months and years.”

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Benfield Motor Group

In 2011 Benfield Motor Group sought to become the motor retailer equivalent of John Lewis, offering the same level of customer experience expectations, through a new brand identity called ‘Enjoy the Journey’ and backed by TV marketing and social media activity.

The group has also adopted the Net Promoter system (also used by Allianz, American Express and eBay) and is also working on publicising online star ratings and verbatim customer comments on its dealerships sales and aftersales performance.

In the same year the group also received a new award as the top-privately owned business in the North East.

Established in 1957 and based in Newcastle, Benfield is a family owned business and has 30 dealerships throughout the north-east of England, Teesside, Yorkshire, Cumbria and west of Scotland. Its franchises include Nissan, Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, Alfa Romeo, Renault, Honda, Lexus, Hyundai, Kia and Skoda.

Benfield has ‘preferred partner status’ for Renault and Nissan in Tyneside, Cumbria and Northumberland and represents the largest Volkswagen territory in the UK with six dealerships and three dedicated Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Centres in Newcastle, Teesside and Carlisle.

Benfield's largest dealership in the North East opened in July 2004, the twin Renault/Nissan dealership on the Felling Bypass.

Benfield has its own corporate division, a dedicated facility for the business customer, to cater for fleets. Benfield Corporate supply new and used vehicles for purchase or with bespoke leasing and hire purchase plans.

Benfield employs 1,100 staff and also appears in Britain’s Profit Track 100 league table.

In October 2011 Benfield bought Audi franchisee Colebrook and Burgess in deal which added £140m to its turnover and introduced the German marque to its brand portfolio after an eight year absence. Benfield chief executive Mark Squires called Colebrook and Burgess a "natural fit". Colebrook is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Benfield.

The company saw turnover rise from £380m in 2010 to £415.5m in 2011. Pre-tax profit was down from £6m to £3.6m.

The acquisitions also boosted the number of employees in the group, which has dealerships in the North East, Cumbria, Yorkshire and South West Scotland. The 2011 period saw it increase its workforce from 1,181 to 1,500. Squires said the company will be creating more jobs in Sunderland once the Ford dealership is operating at full throttle.

In 2013 managing director Nigel McMinn was promoted to chief executive. It followed the appointment of Gerard Murray as finance director.

In March 2014, Benfield opened its fifth Ford centre. The Sunderland site cost £5.8 million and required the creation of 45 jobs.

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Benfield Motor Group Turnover

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Benfield Motor Group profit before tax
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Benfield Motor Group gearing
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Renault Retail Group

Renault Retail Group is a national network of over 20 automotive dealerships and sells one in every four Renaults in the UK.

It is 100%-owned by Renault and was formed in 1996. To-date the group has sold over 350,000 vehicles in the UK.

Annual turnover in 2010 was £513 million with full-time staff numbering more than 1,000.

In 2010 the group appointed Stuart Walker as managing director from the post of deputy MD, succeeding Ian Plummer who was promoted to Renault UK’s director of commercial operations. Walker also heads up the group’s Nissan operations and its used car franchise Autoworld.

The group suffered particularly during the 2008 recession, with sites closing or undergoing restructuring as it sought to streamline the business wherever possible.

Plans to redevelop its flagship London West site at a cost of £9 million were also shelved.

RRG is also a member of online used car sales website established by Perrys, Vertu Motors and Lookers bosses Ken Savage, Robert Forrester and Peter Jones.

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Renault Retail Group Turnover

Profit before tax

Renault Retail Group profit before tax
profit guide


Renault Retail Group gearing
gearing guide

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