Mark Squires, chief executive, who is looking to sell 300 new Kias this year, says this is the group’s second twinning involving Škoda. He believes in the approach.
“We put Škoda in with Ford at Harrogate, and it has done well – the market leader benefited, too, with an increase in showroom traffic. We think this is the right time to take Kia, and that it goes well with Škoda. Both offer strong value to buyers, but are different.”
Squires says it is too early to say whether Benfield will open more Kia outlets. Kia has been added at a large, 14-unit showroom, which has been divided in half with a neutral area in the centre and a single reception point.
There are specialist sales staff for each brand, but in approving Benfield’s plan, both carmakers recognize there could be overlapping.
Squires says Škoda and Kia tiles and other cosmetic features differentiate the two sides of the showroom, but the cost of adding a second franchise at the site has been low.
Alex Smith, Kia commercial director, says: “We are continuing to talk with a number of major players to strengthen our network and to fill open points in important locations.”