Reg Vardy plc has set a target of gaining 10% of the UK market share of each of seven manufacturers. They are Ford, Vauxhall, Renault, Nissan, Citroen, Fiat and MG Rover.
Chairman Sir Peter Vardy said: “We take between 4% and 7% already and our intention is to build true partnerships with those companies but it's difficult to achieve.
“We have an operational director for each of the seven who thinks only of the brand, which is what manufacturers want. “Our greatest problem is that carmakers keep changing policies and also their people who deal with Reg Vardy. We get to know someone and they leave or are promoted.”
Sir Peter, speaking after announcing Vardy's results, said relationships with manufacturers was the biggest issue facing motor retailers in the UK.
“Relationships are better than two years ago but we have more to achieve,” he said.
He urged carmakers to leave retailing to motor dealers. Asked whether he would allow manufacturers to invest in his group, Sir Peter said: “I just wonder what they would bring to the partnership because manufacturers don't usually make good retailers.”
He did though support the idea of manufacturers investing in premises, especially expensive city centres, and recruiting good dealers to run them.
“I would be interested in talking to manufacturers which are interested in us running a prestige site for them,” he said.