Aiming for steady and stable expansion
Suzuki will be looking to hold on to its market share this year, rather than promising radical numbers. Growth will be steady and profitable.
Wyatt said: “Do what you can with what you have where you are. We want to make sure that the good progress we made in 2011 and 2012 is held on to and then see a bit of growth through the S-Cross.
“We’ll get to 35,000 units this year. There’s no world domination strategy. There isn’t a big European headquarters pushing volumes and we don’t have to phone Japan before making a decision.”
Upper quartile dealers are seeing a 3% return on sales, with the UK Suzuki dealer average at 2.2%, higher than the current UK average of 1.49%, according to ASE. Average dealer throughput increased by 66.6% in 2013 from 150 units to 250.
Are Suzuki's dealers set up for growth?
Suzuki’s steady growth will not spell a revolution with UK dealer network representation. Wyatt is keen for the brand to continue working closely with small, family-run owner-operators.
There are larger groups exposed to Suzuki, such as Vertu Motors, as well as big regional groups like Stoneacre Motor Group, Phoenix Motor Company, Glyn Hopkin and RRG Group, but the majority of Suzuki’s dealers are not in the AM100.
Suzuki has 144 dealers in the UK and wants to increase numbers slightly to 150 for the volumes it has in mind.
“We’re not looking for gin palaces,” said Wyatt. “I want our network to look like a decent three-star hotel. If you were on a business trip and you needed to spend the night somewhere, you’d feel comfortable about it, the place would be clean and it’s fit for purpose, not ostentatious.
“Our network is broadly achieving that.”
A handful of dealers need to refurbish, but it is an ongoing process, rather than a mandated corporate identity programme.
Wyatt is happy with the current mix of dealers, his main stipulations being that they are digitally competent and fleet-aware. He acknowledges that these are not typically things an owner-operator would excel at, but Suzuki has made progress. Email data capture is close to 70% across the network.