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Manufacturer's softening attitude to corporate identities

Manufacturer’s corporate identity standards are softening in the wake of the UK’s recession.

Nigel Boreham, Showcase Interiors UK managing director, told AM that manufacturers are being sympathetic to dealers that are struggling.

Boreham said: “Certain manufacturers are being more sympathetic to market conditions because they know dealers are having a tough time and not getting the returns they would like.”The comments come off the back of Showcase’s recent acquisition of the retail division of Steelcase Solutions, a competitor in the automotive showroom design market, for an undisclosed sum.

Boreham said: “Steelcase works with Lexus across Europe and we’ll be able to work with a lot more clients as a result of the purchase.”

Showcase sits between dealer and manufacturer during the showroom design process and sees the affect of the current market climate.

Boreham said: “The recession is definitely having
an effect at the moment. Manufacturers and dealers alike are all rationalising and cutting back. 

“However, our work hasn’t been seriously affected simply because the projects we’re working on have been 12 to 14 months in the making. 

“It’s going to get a lot tougher for us over the next six months.”

Showcase is advising dealers that need to refurbish
or update their showrooms to concentrate on the areas that will touch customers directly. 

Boreham said: “When necessary we try to advise dealers to concentrate on areas that will touch the customer and then cut back in places that aren’t consumer facing.

“The challenge we’re facing is convincing dealers that they will have to live with the decisions they make on quality and design and if they look to cut costs now it may hurt them in the future.”

Showcase recently completed a job for a Porsche dealer which had a £150,000 budget for furniture but managed to compromise and cut costs to £70,000.

Boreham said: “We’re trying to do what we can to help dealers save money.”

Showcase is currently working with Mercedes-Benz to create business lounges for aftersales.

Boreham said: “We’re creating real business lounges that customers can use while they wait for their servicing. 

“It’s this sort of environment that we’re trying to create that will hopefully retain customers to boost aftersales during these tough times.”

Showcase works with the BMW, Mini, Audi and Harley Davidson dealer networks in the UK for interior show-room design.

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