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Hyundai embarks on retention strategy to hit top five spot in UK

Tony Whitehorn, Hyundai Motor UK

Hyundai has changed 40% of its dealer network as it embarks on a drive to improve the experience in its showrooms and service departments to help it hit a 5% market share.

The Korean brand knows it needs to retain more customers if it wants to compete with the top five manufacturers in the UK.

The dealer network was terminated and new contracts have been signed under a general block exemption with a change in 63 locations out of 153. It is looking to increase representation to 165 sites this year.

Tony Whitehorn, Hyundai Motor UK chief executive and president, told AM some of the changes were required simply due to the volume of customers that showrooms were now seeing.

He said: “Retention is what this business is all about. As Hyundai grows, the brand needs larger, regional dealer groups rather than the smaller ‘owner-drivers' of the past.

"The small, family-owned dealerships still have their place but in metropolitan areas we need businesses that can handle the investment required and a throughput of 500 cars a year.

"We are finding that customers' expectations from us are increasing all the time and so we have to manage this ready for the next sales push in 2015.”

Hyundai is expecting to sell 75,000 units this year and believes it can hit 100,000 by 2020. Whitehorn wants a “greater standardisation” across the network and a consistent experience from dealer to dealer.

Whitehorn and Nick Tunnell, Hyundai UK aftersales director made it clear they also didn’t want dealers to lose their family-style approach or personality.


Whitehorn said that rather than the usual push on only new car sales, Hyundai will be applying a big focus on aftersales this year and improving the service customers are offered.

New customers attracted to the brand by the scrappage scheme and an increase in fleet volumes have meant Hyundai now needs to meet higher expectations.

Dealers will now be using Hyundai’s own service plan product, rather than third party offerings.

Tunnell told AM: “We are aiming for an 80% penetration on five year service plans across the network.

“We will also be simplifying the service schedules, moving from seven to two and offering servicing from £89 at a national fixed rate to attract customers with older vehicles.”

Customer can add extras on top of the fixed price service if they want, still leaving the franchised dealer an opportunity to upsell.

Whitehorn said: “The key here is that we will be retaining these customers for the long term. If they experience an amazing service they will come back again to get their car serviced, by a used car or new car.”

Customer feedback

Hyundai has moved from a 75 questions customer feedback form to a five question online process which is helping dealerships gain more insight on where they’re getting things right and wrong, with the killer question – “would you recommend us to a relative or friend?”.

Dealers are notified as soon as a customer has completed the five questions.

The company is also looking at carrying customer reviews online but is still looking at the detail. Tunnell said: "People now rarely stay in a hotel without looking at reviews first. We have to plan how we go about this and in terms of intent there is a need to be as transparent as possible."

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