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"If I was a dealer.." Manufacturer bosses have their say

AM asked some of the key directors of car brands in the UK for their views on what they would see as their priority of they were in charge of a dealer group.

Here are their responses.

“I’d be looking at the best performances achieved within that brand’s franchise, and challenging myself and my team if we were not delivering the same. Regardless of which franchise you operate, why settle for anything less than being the best at it?”
Leon Brannan, Honda

“I’d ensure staff were completely au fait with all the new product that’s coming. There’s a lot of downward pressure on margins, so I would sell the vehicles for what you get on them, rather than what you get off them.”
Mark Ovenden, Ford

“I would drive the sales team to pro-actively prospect for business by putting the product in front of customers both online and offline.”
William Wang, MG

“I would put more focus on the evolution of digital. The showroom experience has to be an extension of the digital experience, so the dealer knows everything you have done at home already.”
Ken Ramirez, Renault

“I would be looking to retain the staff who can deliver the best customer service. There’s too much staff turnover in the network, particularly they key people who face customers every day. Dealers who solve that issue will benefit.”
Paul Philpott, Kia

“I’d concentrate on the basics. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the sales growth and forget about processes. Ensuring staff have the right levels of training and understanding of the products is one of the best ways to ensure customer satisfaction.”
Jim Wright, Nissan

The above is featured in the new AMi 2015 UK Franchised Dealer Report being sent to senior executives at franchised dealer groups now. Copies are also for sale in our shop, priced £995.



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Comments

  • Yorkshire Lad - 23/12/2014 12:16

    Well done Jim Wright. My motto over many years "Back to Basics".

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  • EssexGuru - 23/12/2014 12:53

    I favour Mark Ovenden's view - sell the product don't distress it

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  • jim smith - 23/12/2014 19:42

    As a Sales Manager about to leave the industry I think it important to stress that Staff Turnover remains a fundamental problem. The essence of this problem lies in the entire ethos of the industry i.e. relationship between manufacturer and dealer and as a corollary relationship between dealer and staff. Lets be honest this has become a commodity market with no place for staff satisfaction or equitable relationships. I have worked for both global brand and local dealer, staff welfare has not been a priority for either!!

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  • Gerry - 23/12/2014 20:30

    If I were a MANUFACTURER I would put my own house in order first. By not making wild claims of standards on their web sites and then failing to live up to them. By not offering dealerships training and support in legal compliance when many of their own claims are non- complaint. By maintaining legally compliant standards in showroom advertising that dealerships are expected to use but run the risk of prosecution when they do.

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  • Sportline - 23/12/2014 20:49

    There is no surprise as to what the key issues are in the Franchised Networks today, as they have been the same issues for the last 20 years. Managers that got the job on the basis of shifting metal, with no real support or ability in how to manage and motivate staff. As a result the staff do not follow the core processes (both in sales and aftersales) and the customer suffers along with the earning potential of the business. Sales staff that sell whatever they are rewarded on i.e. Superguard or GAP, but dont bother to sell the add ons that would benefit the customer and the business i.e. new mats, mudflaps, service plan, extended warranty etc. Aftersales Departments that collect responsibility for the security and maintenance of the building and every other job that isnt deemed to be the responsibility of sales. No real customer driven process i.e. the booking process, prep process, workshop management, customer communication and Quality Check and handover . . and how about a follow up call. When companies invest in the right levels of staff, recruit them properly (instead of a bum on a seat) motivate and reward them properly, recognise their acheivements and train them, along with good opportunities for progression then staff will not turnover, and this will only work if the same applies to management.

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  • Skatinka - 24/12/2014 15:22

    Mostly typical comments from individuals who have no experience or insight to the shop floor...never been there....so there fore unqualified to comment....Get a grip.

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    • Gerry - 30/12/2014 09:56

      @Skatinka - A provocative comment from one who has no idea who is or isn't in the trade. Does approaching 40 years as a car retail legal compliance auditor count?

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    • EssexGuru - 30/12/2014 10:18

      @Skatinka - I agree with Gerry! I have 45 years of experience in the retail motor business across many franchises with both plc's and private groups. - I feel that I am qualified to comment!

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    • Skatinka - 30/12/2014 19:02

      @Gerry - Obviously you and Essex Guru do not realise that my comments were about the people interviewed on this subject and NOT yourselves..which you were NOT..so my comments still stand.Oh and I have a very good idea about the trade...but do not feel it is necessary to tell the world how old I am...

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    • Gerry - 31/12/2014 12:44

      @Skatinka - Perhaps better self expression would have assisted you to say what you meant to say rather than what you thought you had said

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  • Rob Taylor - 29/12/2014 16:21

    I agree with many of the comments - especially where selfish salespeople (not their fault) - "sell products to customers that suit them and not the business". A Good DP/SM will pay a balanced pay-plan, which gives the sales exec the opportunity to offer all products to the customer (knowing that they will get paid the same commission, but will benefit the business). I have to chuckle at New Car Manufacturers and the pressure they put on dealers every quarter with these pie in the sky targets, they don't care if you self register 30/40 or 50 cars to hit "their target" its the dealer that is faced with moving these pieces of metal in the next quarter, and then Manufacturers wonder why dealers are so far behind their next quarter target. Its so so difficult not to distress sell new car product, when your target is a mountain to climb.

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  • Yorkshie Lad - 31/12/2014 10:15

    It has always been my understanding that top officials within the Manufacturers simply do as they are told. They abide by the corporate rules. They have zero imput into how their manufacturing collegues design and shape vehicles, and they wholesale them to the dealers. Manufacturers forget that their customers are the dealers, the people who buy their products are your customers, not Ford, Vauxhall, BMW etc.etc. As to salesmanship, someone said, a long long time ago, that "There is nothing wrong with the economy that old fashioned salesmanship cannot put right". Selling is an art and a profession, which can be honed an bettered, every day. As to distress selling. If the product is good and value for money, it will sell, regardless of cost. If it does not meet customer expections it will distress itself.

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