Vauxhall has certainly been in the headlines since Tom Sharpe’s scoop for AM last month that it was about to rationalise its dealer network. This month, Stephen Norman, Vauxhall’s managing director, confirmed that the network will be reorganised, under new contracts issued to “the majority”, but not all, of its current franchisees.
For those dealerships losing the franchise, an unpleasant and uncertain future awaits while owners search for a new brand, decide to go independent, or find a buyer for their assets. Meanwhile, the automotive managers at these businesses must support staff morale because they will still have to keep the wheels turning until they find a long-term solution.
Some of the bigger Vauxhall dealers seem confident that the plan will improve the profitability of the retail network. Vauxhall’s current rate of new car sales, 195,000 in 2017, cannot be split between 326 dealerships that were designed and built for a brand pushing 250,000 to 300,000 registrations into the market every year.
We hope they are right, and that painful action now, rather than inaction, will allow the Vauxhall dealer network to thrive in the medium term.
We are in the second year of our AM Best UK Dealerships To Work For programme, and I urge you to put your business forward. The June 1 deadline is just weeks away. It’s free to participate, and it will help you to better understand your employees.