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View from the top: Opportunity knocks, the Honda way

For dealer group Norton Way Motors, one of its best business decisions was collaborating with Honda on the creation of the world’s first Honda Brand Centre in Chiswick, West London.

The project has been a ground-breaking move for the business, in that it enables it to retail not only Honda cars, but also its entire range of motor-cycles, quad bikes, scooters and garden, marine and power equipment.

Managing director David Grainger explains: “We are always looking for the best way to secure the company’s future, and the changes in block exemption provided the impetus for us to work even closer with Honda in this particular area of our business. Equally importantly, we never rest on previous results, and establishing a world first was a great way forward.”

Since opening in 2001, the outlet has become the most successful Honda dealership in Europe. “All parts of the business are equally important in terms of quality, focus and brand represent-ation,” says Grainger. “We use shared best practice across all aspects of our operation and work hard on transferring individual skills and experience throughout the business.”

Grainger says around a quarter of the dealership’s revenue and profit is non-car related. There is a further benefit; the ability to supply non-car products occasionally leads to car sales at a later date. And vice-versa.

“A large number of walk-ins have approached us with a view to purchasing a new or used car, which we have gladly supplied, complete with a fantastic new lawnmower in the boot,” says Grainger. “It partly comes down to awareness of Honda’s range of products, but also down to our philosophy of fully qualifying the opportunity, and then exceeding the customer’s requirements.

“Great teamwork is encouraged between the product specialists, and as a result we have some clients who have now purchased cars, motor-cycles and power equipment.”

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