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'Small car' Suzuki's big UK turnaround

“Having a consistent consumer offer means that you have a more orderly market,” said Wyatt.

“The network has confidence in the product and the no-VAT offer too. When it goes wrong is when the dealers feel they have to create their own consumer offer because the

manufacturer’s isn’t strong enough.”

Wyatt acknowledges that Suzuki needs to improve in one important area – PCP. The market has run away with PCP as a product, but Suzuki has been slow to react.

“Our PCP offer isn’t as strong as it should be,” said Wyatt. “Historically, we haven’t had a need to manage our residual values as aggressively as some other brands because we weren’t a fleet player.”

The situation is improving, with 50% of Swift sales through PCP and the S-Cross now available for £179 a month.

Wyatt wants the brand to have a balanced portfolio and exposure and while he admits PCP helps with shortening the customer buying cycle, it’s not the answer for every customer.

“We want to get better at it, but not at all costs,” he said.


Conquest sales and test drives

Wyatt’s goal is for Suzuki to be the wild card on customers’ shopping lists: “We set ourselves the objective of being that third brand on someone’s shopping lists. We know consumers will look at the latest brand you’re driving, the safe choice and the wild card. We want to be the wild card.”

“What we need to do is make sure we have good visibility and stand out. We sponsored ITV movies, which gives us an always-on presence.”

Suzuki has a high conversion rate when customers take a test drive, with 60% going on to buy. That conversion rate prompted Suzuki’s marketing tag line of ‘have to have it’.

The dealer network is still feeling the ripples of the scrappage scheme back in 2009, where 80% of its sales through the scheme were to new customers. Those customers are now changing for a new Suzuki.

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