Five retailers have been added to the network since the B2B concept was revealed in AM last month (March 10), taking it to 93. All B2B dealers are based in metropolitan areas and focus on small businesses with fewer than 25 cars on their fleets.
Each will have a fleet sales specialist who has undergone a three-stage training programme – the first graduates have just been announced – involving seven days of small business guidance. It includes role play scenarios and off-site workshops.
Stephen Hollings, Honda head of corporate, says: “This is a big investment in the network. We are setting appointments for these dealers and qualifying market leads to help them get started. So far, we have qualified more than 15,000 leads.
“It will take about a year before the dealer principal can run it by themselves – we will give them a lot of support until then.”
Honda expects more than 30% of its sales this year to go to the fleet sector, which will help to achieve its 108,000 sales target (2005: 98,344). Within five years, when Honda wants to be selling 150,000 cars, around half will be to corporate buyers. All will be on two or three-year cycles; Honda does not want any short-term rental.
The carmaker still has gaps in the network for B2B dealers. It expects to peak at 100 this year. It also has 22 corporate dealers who are focused on the larger fleet accounts and leasing companies. “The timing is perfect because we now have the right product with diesel on Civic, Accord, CR-V and HR-V – it’s a much better offer for the corporate market,” says Hollings.