Manufacturers are getting carried away with the recent up-turn in the market by getting dealers to invest in new corporate identities (CI), says Mitsubishi managing director Lance Bradley (pictured).
Manufacturers such as Renault, Hyundai, Seat, and Bentley have all announced recently they have asked dealer networks to invest in a new CI, and Bradley feels this is down to recent industry success.
In an interview at the Geneva Motor Show last week, Bradley said: “I’ve never heard of a customer go into a showroom and say; I really like the car, I really like the way you’ve dealt with me, and the price is great, but I can’t buy a car off those tiles – they just don’t care.
“We have made a big point of not changing things; we don’t push dealers to spend money on their premises, we just think it is important that a standard is maintained – more house-keeping rather than a change of CI.
“Our dealer network had a fantastic year last year, with sales up 75%, and dealers are now more profitable than they have ever been with the franchise. This success was driven predominantly by an investment in marketing and the PHEV, but ASX sales were up 54%, Outlander diesel up 10%, Shogun up 66%, and the L200 was up by 17% too.”
AM asked Bradley how he thought this years’ election could affect the industry, he said: “For 2015, there is no reason for the market to fall back, even with the upcoming election, things that made the market grow last year; customer confidence and low interest rates and the economy improving – are all still here this year.”
Mitsubishi’s targets for the future include working on its PCP sales: “We are not doing a huge amount of PCP and we will be looking to grow this. Some work is needed on our residual values – as a niche brand our residuals should be higher, but in actual fact they’re around average. Residual values in the guides often change quite dramatically from one month to the next, without anything changing on our end, and we have found out it is because they don’t know what we are doing, so we are working closely with them to improve this.”
Bradley also pointed out that dealers should watch out for the upcoming change in the Government plug-in grant – three bands will be in place, but it is yet to be announced whether these will have different rates.