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View from the top: How Nissan is creating capacity without outlay

The tough new car retail market is forcing many dealers to search for better profitability from other departments in their dealership.

One manufacturer assisting its network to do this is Nissan.

It is focusing on aftersales efficiency and currently has a pilot underway at 20 dealerships, which is enabling the company to increase its service revenue by up to 30%.

Vincent Wijnen, director of aftersales and quality, says Nissan has recognized that its network needs to increase its service capacity to cater for a growing vehicle parc over the next three years. But adding bays or building new sites is “the last resort”.

Instead, Nissan is taking some of the best practice principles already adopted in its assembly plant in Sunderland and filtering them through to its retailers. Senior workshop staff are being given a four-day course at Sunderland before returning to their workshop to implement the new procedures. One principle is optimizing and standardizing the highest volume jobs, such as routine services.

“We used to get 10 different dealers taking 10 different times to do a service. We now have that down to one set time. This involves some training and a change of mindset for some service staff, but on average we find this can free up 20-30% capacity without building anything or hiring extra technicians, simply through running more efficiently,” says Wijnen.

An aftersales manager selling that extra capacity for retail work, rather than internal or warranty jobs, will then realize a good profit for the dealership for no extra investment.

Wijnen says some dealers now provide a while-you-wait service, as the time required is down to 45 minutes, which consequently brings benefits in customer service.

These are particular areas Wijnen wants dealers to work on. He blames long lead times for driving some customers away from the network.

“If a customer calls and the dealer cannot fit in their job for several days, they may say they’ll call back but often they’ll be gone. I don’t want that to continue,” he adds.

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