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SsangYong boss says it needs to improve its 'dealer gene pool'

SsangYong UK is looking to boost its dealer network by 2015 as its model range expands.

Chief executive Paul Williams described the task as a "need to improve the gene pool" by recruiting more dealers willing to engage with the low cost Korean brand and its range of 4x4s and SUVs.

He wants 65 sales points by the end of 2014. At present the SsangYong dealer network numbers 52 locations, shared with another franchise or a strong used car operation.

Many, such as Steve Durkin in Nelson, Lancashire, or Chequered Flag in Attleborough, Norfolk, are achieving good levels of incremental sales to their other operations, said Williams, and some are now considering adding the franchise in second sites.

But around a third of all SsangYong dealers are barely selling the new cars, AM understands.

Williams admitted that due to SsangYong UK's small size - it's a 0.04% market share franchise at present with 715 new car and LCV registrations to date in 2013 - it takes a 'tread lightly' approach and has very low franchise investment levels so dealers looking to replace operations for Saab and Subaru have been among those interested.

"It doesn't matter if we don't have the best premises or locations, providing the dealer is willing to work at it. It won't work if they don't have the right attitude, they can't expect people to simply walk up and say they want a SsangYong," he said.

Typical prospective customers tend to be middle-aged, middle-income people with a strong sense of value, and who require a suitable car to tow a caravan, horsebox or trailer.




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  • Nick Challacombe FIMI, FMI, FIoD. - 29/11/2013 16:23

    I was a Daihatsu dealer for many years, I sold my business through ill health in 1999. I then drove EClass Merc Estates for the next 13 years until I could no longer get in and out of them. I needed a 4 x 4 again, I went all over the shop and eventually bought a SsangYong Korando Auto from Chequered Flag. It is a great car and should sell well, all that seems to be holding the franchise back is a complete indifference from the top. I know the management team but they seem to be sleep walking, they have a great product and some great dealers, I have offered to help with recommendations after all after 35 years involvement with the 4 x 4 trade and SUVs I could recommend to my dealer friends, but answer came there none. Great Car Range, Great built Quality, Reliable, Poor management!

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    • Nick Nickleby - 29/11/2013 16:41

      @Nick Challacombe FIMI, FMI, FIoD. - Ditto your comments: Daihatsu was a truly great franchise until it fell into the wrong management hands - who then proceeded to ruin it with totally inappropriate management and marketing methods. I could go on - but I won't ... except to say "be afraid Ssangyong - be very afraid!"

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  • jimsmith - 29/11/2013 19:12

    I entirely agree DAIHATSU was very poorly managed their senior staff lived in a dream world. They failed to engage with the dealer network.The market continues to be a difficult place and requires pragmatism from small niche franchise directors. As a now successful used car dealer my advice is do not sign up with any small brand unless it's senior management are realistic, flexible and adaptable - all those things IM Group the Daihatsu Distributor were not !!

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  • exdaihatsu - 04/12/2013 13:52

    Daihatsu was perfectly fine until IM Group got their hands on it. It was great under Inchcape. I worked there for years - nothing wrong with the management team - it went downhill when IM got involved

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