Nissan is planning to reduce the number of dealerships specialising in fleet sales – cars and LCVs – from 60 to around 45 over the next year.
Nissan GB managing director Paul Willcox believes this will help its specialists make bigger returns from fleet sales, in turn encouraging them to invest more in the business and their people to improve the service offered to fleets.
“It can’t be a marginal business from them,” he said.
“We need dealers that understand the opportunities in fleet and understand the customers’ needs.”
Already 80% of fleet sales go through around 35 business centres. Willcox has also improved the margin structure on fleet sales to raise dealers’ interest.
And he has more than doubled the marketing spend this year as he makes fleet sales a major priority for 2010.
Further focus has been placed on Nissan’s light commercial vehicle operation, with the addition of four new dealerships to take its LCV network up to 66 locations.
These include the first dedicated solus Nissan LCV centre, opened by Pendragon’s Chatfields division in Birmingham.
The other additions are Imperial in Hull, Crossroads in Rotherham and Swansea Truck Centre.
Nissan’s LCV sales and marketing director, Francis Bleasdale said: “With a growing product line-up of class-leading commercial vehicles, we need the widest possible dealer network to offer the complete package to our customers across Britain.”
The news comes as Nissan confirmed some 35 of its car dealers are under threat of losing their franchises if they fail to match up to new performance standards.
Willcox issued termination notices to 10% of his 185 dealers, and warned that the bottom 20% will be ‘helped’ out of the franchise unless they improve.