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Independent Chevrolet gets proactive

The establishment of Chevrolet as an independent business unit from General Motors will see the brand grow its network with an emphasis on increased profitability.

The separation became effective on January 1 and now Chevrolet’s new network development team is visiting existing dealers and is in discussions with owner-operators, independents and groups about adopting the franchise.

Essential requirements for new dealers is “passion and focus” combined with the right location, business plan – and ideally 3% - 4% share in their territory.

Recent additions to the brand are dealers WA Lewis in Shrewsbury and Cornwall’s Falmouth Garage.

The network stands at 92 combined distributor/repairers and 24 authorised repairers, with 70% dual franchise with Vauxhall.

There are no plans to change this according to Chevrolet UK managing director Mark Terry.

He said some dealers were making 3% margins, but there are wide variations on performance. The goal across the network is 1% and to grow consistently from there.

There are seven open points in the network, including Milton Keynes, Portsmouth, Cambridge and Chester. Once the network reaches 95 outlets Terry believes it will be at its optimum size.

As well as signing up new dealers there will also be some terminations.

“Some sites are in the wrong place and some of the partners will no longer fit with Chevrolet,” Terry said. The realignment of the network is likely to be complete in three years.

Dennis De Roos, network development director, said: “Prior to the establishment of Chevrolet as a separate UK brand, dealers would’ve been visited by one representative from the GM brand meaning the Chevrolet offering would have been diluted, typically with the emphasis on Vauxhall,” he said.

“Now, with a new, dedicated development team the focus will now fully be on Chevrolet.”

Its retail market share is around 1% and the goal is to grow this year to 1.2%. Total unit sales in 2009 was 18,660 and the target for this year is 19,400. But De Roos is confident of exceeding 20,000. “The growth will come in retail sales. We will not resort to short-cycle rental deals simply to reach volume targets.”

Aiding the growth is a launch programme, beginning with the Spark now and the seven-seat MPV the Orlando next year. Also due are Cruze five-door and estate versions and Aveo replacement in 2011.

The currrent Spark marketing campaign sees Chevrolet team up with band The Mystery Jets for an ‘unscheduled tour’ of UK cities. Visitors to website select the location for the gig.





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