GoldPeugeot Motor Company
Silver Vauxhall Motors
Bronze Ford Motor Company
Peugeot Motor Company takes the gold award for top manufacturer after securing the No3 spot in the UK new car market and extending its warranty to three years.
Delays in the publication of the Competition Commission report into new car pricing caused great difficulties in the UK market, especially for volume manufacturers.
Even so, Peugeot submitted a comprehensive entry which detailed its objectives and achievements.
Rod Philpot, Peugeot Motor Company marketing director, said: “We have made giant strides in genuinely attempting to implement a higher level of customer care. In what are certainly the most difficult trading conditions for many years, Peugeot has shown growth in every measurement criteria over the last 12 months.
“Enhanced customer satisfaction, greater volume, increased market share and sound profitability have been enjoyed by both our dealers and ourselves.”
The Carter & Carter assessor says: “Peugeot has shown it continues to focus time and resource to researching what its dealer network wants and what potential purchasers need from a brand. The company then seeks to implement a solution which has been thoroughly thought through.”
Peugeot, by tripling the length of its warranty, “caught the rest of the volume players cold”, commented Carter & Carter.
Mr Philpot said scrutiny of Peugeot's customer satisfaction research across Europe highlighted the importance of a three-year warranty to differentiate perceptions of care. Innovations by Peugeot included an internal focus group policy. This gives staff at all levels the ability to air innovative customer-care initiatives to senior management quickly.
Vauxhall Motors takes the silver award for its customer care centre based at Luton since 1989. It began with 18 staff processing around 200 phone calls and 250 letters a week. Now, 110 staff deal with 2,500 phone calls and 750 letters and e-mails a week.
David Hyde, Vauxhall Motors dealer and consumer relations manager, said: “The centre's scope has increased many times, from what was initially a simple customer service organisation.
“Today it encompasses all aspects of the sales and marketing support arena, including service, parts and sales, prospect management, internet selling and enterprise customer management.”
Mr Hyde said Vauxhall was among the first in the industry to exploit new technology related to telephony and computer case management. “The centre has some of the most sophisticated systems and processes seen anywhere in the automotive industry and outside,” he added.
Ford Motor Company wins the bronze award for Mobility and General Information Centre (MAGIC), its customer care centre at Swindon.
The free service was created for disabled and elderly people, their families and carers. It offers a wide range of information on motoring and mobility subjects.
Carter & Carter's assessor comments: “This initiative, which provides a central point to deliver reliable, detailed information on motoring and mobility questions, is unique to Ford.
“The formation of working parties and dealer committees has ensured complete buy-in from the Ford network. It is a market-leading understanding of the needs and wants from this sector.”
Daewoo Cars, which began selling cars in the UK in 1994, says each year has proved to be an improvement over the previous one. Uncertainty over the ownership of Daewoo Cars has persisted throughout the year but that has not stopped the UK business continuing to drive sales with a series of bold marketing moves. Daewoo remains convinced of the effectiveness of retaining its present sales/aftersales structure. Over the past year, Daewoo has opened 12 new outlets, of which eight are dedicated aftersales units, taking the network total to 131.
Subaru UK/ Isuzu UK has been a consistently impressive performer in recent years in the JD Power customer satisfaction ratings. Together with Isuzu, Subaru is part of International Motors which has UK concession distribution rights to both marques. Subaru won the UK JD Power customer satisfaction award in 1997, 1998 and this year, and was runner-up in 1999. Its entry for this award was based on its 'business to business programme' which, for a low volume importer, was enthusiastically received by dealers and customers. Subaru UK insists that the dealer network is its first route to supplying a car to a fleet or business user. The 'business to business programme' is intended to assist smaller dealerships with these sales, in part by providing back-up from specialists.