The lion roars for us all

  24 January 2011

The new Peugeot TV ad that promotes its franchised network should be welcomed across the industry. This is no small, local press campaign but a full-blown spend across major channels such as ITV and Sky Sports – and it’s backed up by other promotional tools including direct mail and point-of-sale literature.

You can learn more about the campaign here: http://bit.ly/hRogqM
and see the TV ad here: http://bit.ly/flgco4

It is a happy coincidence that the campaign comes just a couple of weeks after the SMMT and RMI asked carmakers, major dealer groups and the trade press for their support to promote franchised dealerships over independents for aftersales. But it is a great example of what could be achieved with some cross-industry co-operation and creative thinking.

At the dinner where the idea for the campaign was floated the industry was challenged by the editor of a leading consumer magazine to come up with some innovative, good news stories about franchised dealers.

It didn’t take long for the ideas to pour out: how Toyota worked with its network to find a fix for the ‘throttle pedal’ recall and implement it within 48 hours, how BMW dealers are working with customers to store winter tyres and refurbish their alloys, how retail group managing directors are personally handling customer complaints and CSI calls …. the list went on and on.

Nobody is naïve enough to think it will be easy to get these stories across, let alone published. We are talking about rolling back some very ingrained prejudices about our industry. It will require a sustained commitment with a substantial budget.

But equally, nobody should be complacent about the dangers of doing nothing. Franchised auto retailers I speak to are genuinely concerned about falling workshop revenues and perceive the independents as a real threat to the future of their businesses. They believe it is time to start fighting back and they are looking to their trade associations to provide the lead.

The Peugeot campaign is a great start. Now let’s see some more, please.

Have a good week, both in and out of the showroom. If you have a story for us, or want to get something off your chest, email rupert@auto-retail.com

Rupert Saunders

 

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