“Our internal target is to reach 157 operational dealers by the close of the year, reducing open points to 28,” says Lawrence Hamilton, marketing manager at Kia UK. “The quarter one plan for 2007 is to recruit a further two dealers, allowing for potential terminations as well, taking the total to 159.”
In September, Kia told AM it hoped to have a network of 180 dealers by the end of 2006, but it has scaled this target down.
“At present, interest in the franchise is encouraging, with many sound and appropriate businesses being attracted to Kia,” says Hamilton.
“These higher quality dealers and professionally run groups are offering us better standards in terms of facilities, sales processes and locations. At the same time we have instigated a policy with existing dealers to upgrade and, where necessary, relocate.
“Overall, we have been able to increase sales penetration rates for each dealer, meaning we can sell the same volume but with fewer dealers. This is also a benefit to the dealers concerned, as it means less local competition and a higher sales throughput.”
Kia is currently in active talks with 31 prospective dealers, 20 of which are likely to be appointed and operational within the next six months.