AM Online

Suzuki to take on more dealers

Which franchises produced the best return on sales in the first half of the year? No prizes for guessing Porsche in first place, but just behind, according to the Trevor Jones composite figures, is Suzuki.

With first half return on sales of 1.6%, AM’s carmaker of the year is again proving its worth. Sales are on target to hit 33,000, driven by the unprecedented success of Swift, which will sell 14,000 units. It will be the most sales in one year by a Suzuki model.

Next year Suzuki is targeting a 2.5-3% rise in sales, helped by the Splash, which goes on sale in the UK in March.

Suzuki is adding cars to both ends of its model line up. A new Alto will be launched in 2009 followed by a D-sector family car in 2010, based loosely on the concept Kizashi shown at the Frankfurt motor show.

By then, Suzuki will have raised the retail network from 148 dealerships to 175. It expects to have to appoint around 50 dealers to offset the inevitable churn that comes from having a network dominated by owner-drivers.

David Seward, Suzuki GB sales and marketing director, told AM: “Around 10% of our network could retire over the next three to four years.”

With open points in high cost areas in the south, Seward will be looking for larger regional groups and plcs to take the franchise.

He has appointed ex-VW and Saab manager Dale Wyatt as dealer develop-ment manager with a brief to create relationships with the big groups.

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