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Subaru leadership appointments aim to boost brand's COVID recovery

Subaru UK car dealership totum

Subaru UK has made a trio of leadership appointments in a bid to drive forward its recovery from its registrations slump in a COVID-hit 2020 trading period.

The IM Group-operated brand has followed up the appointment of former Citroen Ireland managing director Pat Ryan as its new MD by adding Kevin Hilliard as brand director and Bryan Cliff as events and PR manager.

The changes come as the brand prepares for the arrival of its first fully electric vehicle (EV) – the Solterra SUV – next summer.

Ryan said: “Subaru is a superb brand with a great team and Dealer Network, we are already making it stronger with some fantastic products coming along that will give Subaru an even broader appeal.”

Previous Subaru UK managing director, John Hurtig, joined the brand in the summer of 2020 and had stated that there was a need to “rebuild the dealer network from the roots” as it made a bid to overcome an “embarrassing” 2020 sales result.

The brand recorded just 951 new car registrations as COVID-19 impacted the market last year.

New Subaru UK MD Ryan first joined Subaru Ireland in 2015 and has headed-up the brand for two years before moving to oversee Citroen Ireland.

He had previously spent seven years with Volkswagen Group in Ireland, where he held numerous senior roles.

New brand director Hilliard joins the brand with 38 years’ experience in the automotive Industry, with dealer groups in both the UK & Ireland.

He said: “Subaru has one of the most loyal customer followings of all the mainstream brands. The last couple of years have proved challenging for all manufacturers but the future is looking very bright for Subaru with a new vehicle and model enhancements across the range”.

Cliff has spent much of his career with Vauxhall Motors in the UK, meanwhile, most recently as events manager.

He  said: “This is an extremely exciting time to join such a prestigious company with a brand-new model coming in 2022. The announcement that Subaru (UK) Ltd will be entering the electrified market, with the all-electric Solterra, is just another reason to join this much-loved brand.”

AM reported today that Subaru UK had followed Isuzu UK with the offer of a free Quick Check winter safety and condition inspection.

The two IM Group-imported Japanese brands are now both employing the tactic to ensure a flow of vehicles into their franchised networks, offering customers the incentive of free wiper blades, free washer fluid top-up if required and a free air freshener.

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