Dubbed a ‘goal setting through’ meeting, the purpose is to update and recycle the 10-year plan set in 1997. One objective set then was to grow Pendragon’s business in America to a similar size as the UK network.
Pendragon chief executive Trevor Finn says that remains an aspiration – at present UK operations turn over just above £5bn; the US £220m – but he concedes it will take a lot longer than the original 10-year timetable.
“There are opportunities in the US and growth there may happen sooner than you think, but in the UK the market conditions have helped us to grow quicker than we anticipated,” he says. “We expected to be in this position in 2007 – but you have to take the opportunities if they look right.”
Finn now believes that a 10-year plan is too far-sighted in such a fast moving industry. He intends to set a three- to four-year plan at the goal setting meeting with clear, measurable objectives. And they will be regularly revisited.
“You need to constantly move goals forward before you achieve them to ensure you always have something to aim for,” he says.
As for his own goals, Finn suggests there is a limit to how far the current crop of managers can take the company. “We have 10 years of developing the business and then there will be other people with their ideas on what to do next,” Finn says.
“The future will still be about fulfilment and individualization, but it will be different because of the internet. The environment will be different – it will need to be more customer-friendly. At the moment, 80% of the floor space in a showroom is for the cars; 80% should be for the customers. It will need to become more appealing for them.”
#AM_ART_SPLIT# The AM view
Integration of CD Bramall and Reg Vardy (still ongoing) has put Pendragon’s USA plans behind schedule. But Trevor Finn is starting to spend more time over there, so expect growth next year.