Suzuki GB is handing a bonus of up to £10,000 to its franchised car dealers as a reward for their efforts to adapt to trading during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to AM on Friday (November 6), the brand’s managing director, Dale Wyatt, revealed that a sliding scale of payments had been mapped out in order to reward those who had worked hardest to drive online sales and digital engagement with customers.
It comes as the brand reinstated support measures it was quick to introduce in the first coronavirus lockdown period, between March and June, in response to showroom closures forced by ‘Lockdown 2’ in England.
Wyatt, who described his rapid response dealer support measures in the first lockdown as “a bit Heath Robinson”, said: “Our retailers have worked extremely hard to evolve to the situation and we want to protect them from the impact of more lockdown restrictions as well as we can.
“All the measures from the first lockdown have been reinstated this time around.”
He added: “With the COVID support payment we wanted to reward those who had introduced those who had introduced things like live chat, click to buy or reserve a car in response to COVID, while giving a bit of an incentive to others to adapt as well to ensure we’re ready to perform in those areas on an ongoing basis.
“We want our dealers to be active on social media, to communicate with customers via video chat and to sign up to distance selling.
“These are things that can cost money and we want to help them where we can.”
Wyatt said that payment Suzuki GB’s COVID support payment should be paid to retailers in December and is dependent on an initial self-audit and follow-up by the brand itself.
The basic payment is £5,000, with up to £10,000 paid for those who are most digitally active.
Wyatt said that three COVID-19 scenarios have been mapped to determine Suzuki GB's path forward, with the “most likely” projection forecasting that retailers will achieve around a third of their usual volume in November and December, then 75% in January before returning to full capacity by February or March.
“The risk with the virus is, perhaps, that the handbrake is taken off restrictions completely in December, for Christmas, and it then comes back even stronger again,” said Wyatt.
“The last thing we want to do is for this to be drawn out more than needs be.”