SsangYong will miss its revised sales target of 2,000 registrations this year with Paul Williams, managing director of UK importer Koelliker, now forecasting half that total.
He said it had taken longer than expected to get the infrastructure in place; longer to sort out the organisation and bring in new dealers. The situation has been compounded by the market downturn, but Williams believes that might work in his favour.
“We are confident that our strategy in terms of niches and targeting is right,” Williams said.
Dealers will have averaged sales of 31 vehicles over the year with the test drive to sale conversion of more than 60%, according to Williams.
Retained margins are around £1,600 per unit.
With many dealers operating the franchise alongside another car brand, Williams said SsangYong was making a gross contribution to their overheads and fixed costs.
Four dealers have been appointed in recent weeks –Kinghams of Croydon (dual with Daihatsu), Wiltshire & Sons in Farnham (dual
with Seat) and F&G Commercials with two sites in Yorkshire. A fifth will be app-ointed shortly.
Each has invested in a display car and a sales
person. SsangYong provides the training and launch assistance.
“The way you do business is almost as important as the product itself,” said Williams. “We understand how to help dealers make money.”
The appointments take the network to 33, but this might dip at the end of the year when dealers who were with the franchise when the importer rights were acquired by Koelliker have to decide whether to sign a new agreement.
“With the change of ownership they were all put on 12 months’ notice. In December they will have to make a decision,” said Williams.
“We hope the vast majority will stay but there might be some who decide to go and there might be some who we don’t want to move forward with.”