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HMUK dealer council to address unrest

Hyundai’s new dealer council will hold its inaugural meeting at the end of the month as it looks to address continuing unrest among retailers.

The 10-strong council has yet to appoint a chairperson but the agenda of the first meeting will include Hyundai’s strategy for the UK, the remit and operation of the board, and sales, aftersales and dealer profitability issues.

Together with the 10 dealers, all HMUK directors, plus chief executive Ken Lee, will be on the board and they will be keen to focus on discontent around the network. Recently there have been several lengthy posts on AM Dealerforum from Hyundai retailers who still seem disillusioned with the franchise.

“I would be happy to take and sell more cars if the prices were right and I wasn’t being ground down by form filling, reporting, ‘training’ and endless paperwork,” says one dealer.

Despite the appointment of Tony Whitehorn as managing director last November, several dealers still appear unhappy with the lack of progress by the company. Whitehorn promised that he would get the network ready for Hyundai’s ‘growth phase’, which he predicts will take place in 2007 and 2008. But retailers say that dealer profitability needs to be addressed.

“Nothing seems to have changed. If anything, I feel the screw is tightening. I’d like to see some positive actions, which are aimed fairly and squarely at bolstering our profitability for once,” says another Hyundai dealer.

Tony Whitehorn tells AM that he is unable to respond to comments from dealers without knowing specific details, but he is confident that the new dealer council would improve the situation.

“We have to have an open and transparent relationship with the retail network. That means we want a board that will be challenging and outspoken, we don’t want one that will be in our pocket,” he says.

Meanwhile, Hyundai has introduced several offers on Getz, Matrix and Coupé to attract buyers into dealerships.

The Hyundai dealer council

Maxine Croft: BCC Group
Gareth Williams: McLean and Appleton Group
Ron Crowhurst: Eddy Grimstead
Trevor May: Bristol Street Motors
Richard Lawrence: Hylton
Heidi Mikulla: Weston Hyundai
Adam Derbyshire: Spirit Motors
Daniel Daly: Daly Garage
Mark Naddell: Arnold Clark
Ian Wakeford: SLM

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