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Eight questions to… Dale Wyatt, director of automobile, Suzuki GB

Dale Wyatt, director of automobile for Suzuki GB

What are the main responsibilities of your role?

WYATT: As director of automobile, I am responsible for the leadership of the entire Suzuki GB and Ireland business.

My time is split between working with the management team in the UK, our dealer network and our parent company, Suzuki Motor Company, in Japan.

Ultimately, I am accountable for the brand health of Suzuki cars.

We are a growing brand that aims to please its customers and franchised dealer partners while delivering a financial return to its parent company.

 

What are the most significant challenges ahead in your field of work?

WYATT: Every problem I have has two legs. The key challenge for me is to deliver operational alignment and to get the balance correct between ‘survive’ and ‘succeed’ activities.

The motor industry is on the cusp of significant change. Legislation, consumer behaviour and technological advancements mean our business model needs to adapt quickly to stay ahead.

 

How might these challenges be overcome?

WYATT: Quite simply by trial and error. These are industry challenges that can be solved by the people in our industry.

If we work together with a ‘change is coming – how do we adapt and prosper?’ mindset then I believe we can prosper.

However, if we adopt a ‘wait and see approach’, new entrants and a handful of large groups will pick off the fun and profitable bits.

We aren’t driven by the market, we are driven by our own behaviour and attitude. We know it’s what we do that determines how successful we are. We know if we’re clear what the enablers are and we execute those enablers, we’ll get where we need to be.

Our future is in our hands and it is down to us to plot our way towards a new and refined business model.

 

What attracted you to this area of expertise?

WYATT: The people. The motor industry is full of fantastic people and I have worked with them in a number of roles, since I started my career in 1987.  

The dealer franchise model attracts lots of entrepreneurs and it is a privilege to work alongside them – something I did extensively during my time as dealer development manager and then sales and marketing director.

Suzuki also has some fantastic employees across a broad spectrum of disciplines and I really enjoy the breadth of the roles they hold.

 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it at your company?

WYATT: I believe in three simple statements:

■ Do a day’s work in a day

■ Most of the things you worry about don’t happen

■ Be business friends and then utilise the friendship to deliver win-win solutions.

When you become a Suzuki dealer, you join the Suzuki family, and it’s a family where you belong and feel valued. The relationship is one where, internally, the family can openly criticise each other, but if someone externally tries to pick on one of us, we all defend each other.

In order to ensure we have the very best working relationship with our dealers, we worked with them to create the Suzuki Charter. It is a set of guidelines split into “dos” and “don’ts” that outlines how we should behave, with the vision to ensure that all colleagues feel valued.

 

What drives you?

Winning.

 

What’s your favourite app?

British Airways (I love a weekend getaway).

 

How do you relax?

Spending time with friends and family while enjoying good wine and good food.

 

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