The carmaker has put in place a field team of district managers who will work on plans tailored towards each retailer to help them boost retention levels and attract new business.
Its aftersales department will offer full support, including training for service advisors and promotional material for direct marketing, which Peugeot says is more effective than press advertising.
“Dealers need to look at the places where customers look when they need a service. Their marketing needs to be more personalised,” says Andy Sutton, recently promoted from Peugeot director of dealer development to marketing director.
“Dealers are not culturally used to getting out into the market and getting more aftersales business. An increase here would have an astonishing impact on their profitability.”
He believes Peugeot needs to support the network by educating customers that the franchised dealer is the best place to have the car repaired, basing the argument on quality of work, professionalism, facilities and technology. He believes dealers could make more of the cars sold on following part-exchanges – 30-40% of new cars return to the dealership as part exchanges: they need to make sure they stay in contact with the new customer.
“The issue is not protecting loyalty of existing customers, it’s about getting people who’ve never used franchised dealers before for aftersales to use them. Used car customers in particular needed to be locked into the aftersales service at our dealers,” says Sutton. “We need to have a competitively priced servicing offer for older cars to appeal to them.”
Peugeot has a steadily expanding authorised repair network of 352 points, mostly via its 327-strong retail network – few independents have applied.
“We have had fewer enquiries from independents that we expected. We’ve signed around 10 out of 10 times that number of enquiries,” adds Sutton.
“There will be some limited growth in authorised repairers, possibly via companies linking up with dealers to also offer a sales/marketing operation on their behalf.”