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May's issue of AM magazine is out now

AM's May issue asks if manufacturers have struck the correct balance between target-driven volume sales and the controls they place on a customer’s brand experience. Our cover story stems from conversations with several dealers about the rapid increase in new car sales targets they have experienced in the past 18 months.

♦ Scroll to the bottom of the page for a preview of this month's magazine.

In the depths of the recession, it seemed every national sales company AM interviewed wanted to show its softer, caring side. Customer retention programmes, soft skills and engagement processes for their franchised networks were the hot topic. But now that carmakers are ramping up their volume-related bonuses again, will that get in the way of dealers’ customer-centric values?

One carmaker that seems to strike a reasonable balance is Suzuki. Our analysis in this month's issue shows the retail-focused brand is steadily improving volumes, but it understands the needs for relationships and allows its dealers a significant level of entrepreneurship. It enjoys above-average customer loyalty and high ratings for dealer satisfaction in return. That can’t be a coincidence, surely?

Our other May features include how you can use IT to get the most from your aftersales departments; the latest trends and features in showroom technology; and a report from the latest AM Executive Breakfast, featuring business guru Geoff Burch.

This month's expert contributors:

Philip Nothard examines whether demand in the used car market is being sustained and if the returns are still there.

Jay Nagley looks at how many models a carmaker needs to be mainstream.

Professor Jim Saker suggests volume and values are not mutually exclusive but problems arise if incentives unfairly favour one.

This month's car reviews

The Porsche Macan, Dacia Logan MCV, Mazda6 Tourer, Mitsubishi ASX and Seat Leon.

As well as our regular monthly round-up of the latest news and financial figures in UK motor retail.


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