New Chrysler UK managing director Federico Goretti is certainly saying the right things.“Our first priority is to work with the dealers; it’s vital for us to have a real partnership with them.”
And he acknowledges one of the biggest complaints from dealers is the number of models they have to work with.
While not admitting that he will cut the model range, he does intend to focus on a handful of cars.
It’s an approach he took when heading the Italian business, and it paid dividends.
“We were the leader in the MPV segment and the Grand Cherokee was in the top three,” he said.
“You know how to spend the marketing budget, where to put the incentives and how to focus the business rather than spreading it across all the models.”
The model overview is already taking place and dealers can expect to know the outcome within weeks.
Increasing dealer throughput is crucial.
Chrysler is likely to end relationships with some retailers; and it expects some to leave of their own accord. Unless they are in key areas, they will not be replaced.
“We don’t need more dealers; we need bigger dealers selling more cars,” Goretti said.
“It is vital to increase average throughput. In Italy a solid business is 400-450 units – we have to get to that level in the UK. If you are only selling 150-200 cars, you don’t have a platform to buy the right car.”
Just a handful of the 74 UK dealers currently achieve 400 registrations per year; the network average this year will be around 200.
Goretti said it is a long-term target, although he was unwilling to specify a timescale.
He also wants dealers to look at their cost bases as a way to improve profitability.
“We are asking them to look at their fixed cost structure. We believe it’s around 7-8% of their turnover. If they can cut this to 6.5%, it will be a great improvement.”