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Chevrolet wants 100 dealers

Chevrolet is ramping up its expansion plans for the UK with the aim of pushing its UK dealer representation from 58 to 100 by the end of the year.

Rory Harvey, managing director of Chevrolet UK, wants the GM owned manufacturer to push its network past the 100 mark by another 20 ‘to secure the right throughput of sales for each dealer’.

About 60% of the Chevrolet network also sells either Vauxhalls or Saabs.

Chevrolet shares what Harvey terms ‘back of house’ functions with the other GM UK brands at Griffin House in Luton. This extends to using the same parts trucks for deliveries to the dealer network – another spin-off from having multi-branded dealerships.

“But everything ‘front of house’ is exclusive,” says Harvey.

Chevrolet’s expansion plans will be aided by the launch of its Captiva SUV. It goes on sale from June 24 with prices starting at £16,995 going up to £24,920.

The target is 2,000 sales in the rest of 2007 and 4,000 sales in a full year, said Harvey.

Chevrolet will launch six new models by 2010, the first in early 2008. “At the moment, our range covers only 20% of the total market; the new models mean we will be represented in 50% of the market.”

Harvey is approaching 20 years at GM. He joined Vauxhall in 1989 then had an after-sales posting with GM in the Middle East before returning to GM Europe as brand manager for LCVs and recreational vehicles.

In January 2004 he was appointed sales director for Chevrolet in the UK and became managing director a year ago.

He is pleased with progress so far. Chevrolet competes in what Harvey calls ‘the value sector’ – up against Kia, Hyundai and Suzuki. Sales in that sector are down 16% this year, but Chevrolet has seen sales rise by around 35%, year on year. “Interest rate rises tend to hit the value sector harder,” says Harvey.

“We sold 14,380 cars in 2006 and we forecast 19,500 for this year – I’m asking the team to push the needle so we get to 20,000.”

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