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Vincent

FOCUS. CarDealerMag.co.uk | October 2019

Tourette

‘Our franchise really is the business – it’s a great time to get on board’

DACIA

No nonsense, extra profit Reliable, great value and good-looking: cars that British buyers adore

BRIGHT FUTURE

All-New Clio just the start of our exciting journey POWER OF THREE: RENAULT CARS, VANS AND DACIA TOO

VANS

New models on their way

The stunning LCVs that add even more potential for growth


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INTERVIEW

We’re ready for an electrifying future! Vincent Tourette, Managing Director of Groupe Renault, UK and Ireland, explains why the company is poised for some very exciting times.

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ever lose touch. They’re three simple words but seem to sum up Vincent Tourette’s approach to running Groupe Renault’s operations in the UK and Ireland. He’s a man who likes to keep in contact with everyone in the organisation – from his team of executives at Renault’s headquarters in Maple Cross, Hertfordshire, to the entrepreneurs and salespeople he sees as the backbone of the company and who actually sell Renault and Dacia vehicles every day. In some ways, it’s hardly surprising. After all, Tourette rose through the dealership ranks himself in the early days of his 20-year career with the French manufacturer so knows how important it is to keep the network on side. A Frenchman who has lived and worked in seven different countries, he’s been in his current UK role for two years now and is on the lookout for new partners to get on board with Groupe Renault in Britain. That’s not to say he’s seeking to conclude any existing relationships necessarily – merely strengthen the ties that currently exist and potentially create new ones. But with new car sales still in the doldrums and Brexit never far from anyone’s thoughts, is it really a good time to consider investing in a Renault franchise? Tourette doesn’t hesitate. ‘Of course, there’s no better time,’ he says. ‘We are on the eve of renewing our product line-up. All-New Clio is imminent, as is New ZOE, and All-New Captur will be out at the beginning of next year. ‘Another reason is that the electrification of the industry is on the way and we are leading the pack. We are ready because we invested before everybody else. We have the experience, we have the technology and we have the offer across the board with our different cars and vans. ZOE is

02 | CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. |

a top performer in Europe and All-New Clio will have a hybrid version as will next Captur and Mégane. It’s electrification in its widest sense. ‘Another good reason is our portfolio of brands. We have Renault cars, obviously, we have the Renault LCV business, Alpine, and we have Dacia, which is one of the fastest-growing brands in the UK. In fact, Dacia on its own represents a wonderful opportunity for dealers.’ Although the focus is very much on All-New Clio right now, that’s not the only new vehicle being launched by Groupe Renault in 2019. Other new arrivals have been the new Master and Trafic vans and Dacia Duster. The manufacturer has been beavering away behind the scenes making sure the dealership model continues to be profitable as we head towards 2020 and beyond. The phrase ‘mid-term plan’ might not sound like the most exciting of concepts but it’s key to the company’s future success. Tourette explains: ‘It’s a five-year plan and we have executed 18 months already. We are on track with what we set as our objectives. The main aim was to make the fundamentals of the brand in the UK stronger and more robust. The idea was to make us more resilient so we could face what might be potentially difficult times. ‘The second point was to make our network stronger. This is working too and we have implemented a new Renault Dealer Council structure involving more regular meetings, new commissions focusing on operational issues and new regional meetings.’ So what’s the size of the current network? What do Tourette and his team have in mind in terms of expansion? ‘We have 144 sites,’ he says. ‘With that number, we are probably there or thereabouts but we need better coverage and more capacity – particularly in aftersales.’ Tourette’s thinking is that for regular servicing, facilities need to be closer to home. ‘We probably need to treat sales and aftersales

slightly differently,’ he explains. ‘Our parc is growing rapidly because we have been selling quite well over the past few years. These cars are coming back into our workshops but we have insufficient capacity at the moment. Capacity means space, ramps, technicians.’ Tourette says it might not be that Groupe Renault increases the number of partners it has in the long term and adds: ‘In some ways, we would like fewer partners, but more sites, better coverage and more capacity – fewer, bigger, better. One of our challenges for the future is the professionalisation of our partners, linked to their investment capacity. To achieve that, we need to give them scale. ‘I offer the growth to the partners we have today. In some cases where these partners can’t or don’t want to grow and we need coverage, I’m happy to welcome new partners on board.’ One thing’s for certain: a thriving dealer network is central to Groupe Renault’s strategy moving forward. Tourette explains: ‘Despite everything that is happening, we consider our future and the evolution of our group together with our dealer partners – not against them and not at the expense of them. ‘It’s a combination of the physical experience they can deliver through their sites, teams and heritage and us reinforcing the digital element. It will always be a partnership.’

Vincent Tourette on... Something for everyone ‘Groupe Renault is very diverse in its offer to customers. We have a product for every customer and every need.’


franchise call 01923 895000 or email franchising.enquiries@renault.co.uk

FRESH NEW ERA

Great-looking cars, impressive showrooms too New ZOE and All-New Captur showcase Groupe Renault’s expertise in electrification

All-New Clio has already impressed the UK’s hard-to-please motoring journalists – and the public are sure to be blown away by the car when it hits showrooms soon. Those dealerships, too, have been going through some changes, with a stunning new corporate identity being rolled out across the network. ‘We are implementing our new CI, which requires an investment, obviously,’ says Vincent Tourette. ‘We try to be reasonable about the level of investment required and today we have the commitment of the entire network to move to the new CI. Our dealers see the benefit. In terms of brand image, it brings a lot. Those who have invested already are very happy and those who have yet to move but have planned the investment can see the benefit. ‘It’s not conflictual at all. It’s something we have initiated but it’s something the network have bought into.’ It all points to a fresh new era for Groupe Renault in the UK, one of the manufacturer’s key markets. ‘We are a European manufacturer so Europe is our domestic market,’ says Tourette. ‘Europe is in our DNA – at the heart of our business model and future strategy. The UK is an absolutely critical part of that.’

Vincent Tourette, Managing Director of Groupe Renault, UK and Ireland

Enjoying the Easy Life

The Renault approach

Acceptance of electrification

‘We have made our brand simpler, easier to do business with. We call it Easy Life and it has been supporting our actions.’

‘We are human, openminded and we listen to our dealers. I’m not saying everything is perfect but we’re not dictatorial.’

‘The customer is now getting used to the technology and is starting to realise that the old barriers to EV ownership are coming down.’ | CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. | 03


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COMING SOON

The All-New Renault Clio The Clio is one of the UK’s most popular superminis, and All-New Clio has moved the game forward significantly – revolutionising the interior. Offering technology and quality normally seen only on larger and much more expensive models, All-New Clio is more sophisticated than ever. Highlights include a 9.3-inch touchscreen as standard on S Edition and RS Line and a 10-inch digital instrument cluster, which is entirely configurable.

What the press said ‘The Clio’s attractive highquality interior is one of the most appealing in the class and it has a huge boot.’ What Car?

RENAULT RANGE

ZOE

All-New Captur

Kadjar

The ZOE is one of the most popular electric cars on sale, and has proved to be one of the more affordable ways into EV ownership. Now, six years after the original car arrived in showrooms, an entirely new model has been unveiled, which is sure to make electric car ownership a more appealing prospect for thousands of people across the UK. New ZOE’s larger 52kWh battery allows for a range of 245 miles, while the interior receives the same great enhancements as the All-New Clio.

Renault’s first small crossover has been an enormous success, with 1.2 million units being produced since 2013 when the first-generation model debuted – making it the best-selling model in its class across Europe. The All-New Captur has made enormous leaps forward – benefiting from many of the changes seen in the revolutionary interior of All-New Clio. It’s also more practical than ever, yet retains its predecessor’s distinctive, bold styling – a big draw for customers.

Despite being a relatively new addition to the Renault range, the Kadjar has quickly proved itself. Known for its smart styling – the main reason more than 450,000 customers bought the pre-facelifted model between 2015 and 2018 – the latest version offers an elegant exterior and enhanced interior. Well equipped and affordable, prices start from just £20,795 – shaming much of the competition. A new 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine is available, too.

What do the press think? What Car? said: ‘The ZOE is one of the most recommendable electric cars, thanks to its low price, healthy real-world range and fairly big boot.’ 04 | CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. |

What do the press think? Auto Express said after the pre-reveal of the car: ‘The Captur has morphed into a proper crossover.’

What do the press think? Auto Express said: ‘The smooth, refined petrol engine is more frugal than the 1.2-litre unit it replaces, while the Kadjar remains just as easy to drive and live with as before.’


franchise call 01923 895000 or email franchising.enquiries@renault.co.uk

RENAULT VANS

All-New Clio will also be the first electrified version, with a hybrid model arriving in 2020 after a number of petrol and diesel models – meaning a powertrain option to suit everyone. There’s also more space than ever in All-New Clio, despite the fact it is 12 cm shorter and it is 2 cm lower than its predecessor. A new frontseat design not only delivers more comfort and support, its carefully shaped semi-soft shell back also creates extra legroom in the rear. Laurens van den Acker, Executive Vice-

President of Corporate Design at Groupe Renault, said: ‘All-New Clio is part of a saga, it’s an icon. It takes the best of the previous generation, with a revolutionary interior, more quality, sophistication and technology. It really offers everything from the upper segment and brings it to you in the B segment. It’s the best Clio ever.’ Despite all the tech and luxury, All-New Clio remains affordable, starting at £14,295 – undercutting models such as the Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza by some margin.

‘You get a seriously swanky cabin that wouldn’t look out of place in something costing twice the price.’

‘Where the exterior styling has been only minimally changed, the interior is very different, and much better.’

Sunday Times Driving

Car Magazine

Kangoo Offered in a number of guises, and with the next-generation vehicle seen in ZE concept form above, the Kangoo is an incredibly useful van for businesses wanting versatility from a small, practical and handsome commercial vehicle. The all-electric powertrain available doesn’t diminish its load capacity.

Trafic The Trafic is one of two Renault CVs to have been overhauled recently – now available with a more streamlined range of versions under Renault’s Easy Life strategy, making things simpler for customers. The latest iteration ushers in a revised look incorporating LED headlights and an updated car-like dashboard.

Grand Scenic

Koleos

The car credited with launching the small MPV market, the Grand Scenic is an incredibly practical people carrier. The latest iteration brings with it an even more stylish look than before and exceedingly good levels of standard equipment. Large 20-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and a seven-inch touchscreen are just a few of the highlights dealers can tell customers about.

Renault’s largest SUV is the stylish Koleos, which has just been enhanced with an improved interior, new driving assistance and new efficient diesel engines.

What do the press think? Carwow said: ‘The Renault Grand Scenic is a large family MPV that combines the practicality of seven seats with wild styling that helps it stand out from the likes of the Volkswagen Sharan and Seat Alhambra.’

Master Mégane Famed for its Renaultsport hot hatch variants, the Mégane is a stylish and practical hatchback and estate. No surprise then that it’s one of the UK’s best-selling cars ever.

The largest van you’ll find in Renault’s range, the Master is as useful as they come, with Renault Pro+ also able to offer a number of ‘off-the-shelf’ conversions – a Luton box van and aluminium tipper, for example. The new model is also bolder looking than ever, and features lots of useful new tech.

| CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. | 05


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INTERVIEWS

Aftersales: a vital profit

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New strategy will improve our position in the marketplace and help dealers to make more m ppointed Aftersales Director in 2016 when Renault split its service and quality department, Tim Marriott, pictured right, is in no doubt as to the sector’s importance. ‘Aftersales is absolutely crucial, because in difficult and uncertain times within the sales environment, service profit is a key block in a dealer’s profitability chain and their sustainability,’ he told Car Dealer Magazine. ‘Service profit will underpin the dealer’s costs and put them in a strong place to weather the storm that Brexit and an uncertain sales environment might bring.’ Responsible for defining and developing Renault and Dacia’s aftersales business strategy for its north territory markets, which encompass the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta, Marriott highlighted what a dynamic, quick and aggressive marketplace it was, adding: ‘We took a review of where we are and where we wanted

to get to and we’ve put a great strategy in place over the past few years to start to improve our position in the marketplace. ‘This year the commercial results are on track – and that’s very admirable in a difficult market.’ That’s not all. ‘Outside of that, the aspect for me that is really encouraging and pleasing is we’re being really proactive. We’ve developed and deployed a lot of strategy that’s really going to enhance dealers’ profitability and loyalty. ‘We’ve focused strongly on helping our partners improve their financial resilience today and tomorrow. We’ve grown seven per cent on our commercial parts results year-on-year and

our retention is growing by two per cent. We’re still below the market on retention but we’re starting to catch up, so I’m pleased with that.’ Marriott was equally enthusiastic about Renault’s Pitstop service, pointing out how it was a reflection of changing consumer lifestyles. ‘Matching new technologies and the changing demands of the customer who want to be looked after in a different way – that’s very exciting. We’re going to have a lot of new technologies – EVs, hybrids – and we have to match that with how the customers want to be looked after today. It’s our job to be more flexible in our approach to meet those needs. ‘We need to move away from the traditional aftersales model where you bring your car in for a service at 8.30 then go off to work and come back and collect it at 5 – that’s not going to work in the future. People work different hours, everybody’s busy, everybody’s hassled, so you need to find solutions that fit their lifestyle. ‘That’s where Pitstop comes in. We want to say to our customers: “OK, tell us the time that’s convenient to you to get your car serviced and book it in for that time. When you bring it

Partnership and collaboration are key to the way we work

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What does your role involve and how does your department operate? We focus very much on the operational side of our dealer network both in terms of sales, aftersales and customer experience. It’s all about improving dealerships’ performance site by site and helping them increase their volume and profitability. Do you have a big team working with you and the dealers? There are about 45 people in total. We have 36 in the regions – nine per region. We’ve recently added more area managers on the ground including four new area managers across sales and aftersales functions. Our teams don’t just focus on their respective areas of expertise (sales and aftersales), they are also responsible for ensuring top customer experience across all areas of their dealerships.

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06 | CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. |

Q&A

Network Operations Director Louise O’Sullivan

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Are there any other ways in which you support the network? Yes, we have the support function in the regions of a local fleet manager. They will support the network in development of the local fleet. A communications expert is also attached to each region to help with marketing – and then I have 10 people at head office. We also have a special batphone for our regional teams to call, to ensure they get the

fastest answers possible to help support our network. Is face-to-face contact important to you and the dealers? Yes. Clearly, we could operate from our office. I could sit with a team of people and negotiate volume with the dealers. But you’re not going to help them improve their businesses that way. The relationships we have are key. The words ‘collaboration’ and ‘partnership’ are central to the way we work. There’s a lot for dealers to be excited about right now, would you agree? Yes, All-New Clio is coming and new ZOE, with All-New Captur due early 2020 along with the recent launch of New Trafic and Master. Our dealers are super-excited – and with good reason!

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franchise call 01923 895000 or email franchising.enquiries@renault.co.uk

t source

‘Service profit will underpin the dealer’s costs and put them in a strong place to weather the storm that Brexit and an uncertain sales environment might bring.’

money, says Tim Marriott. in you’ll go through the Pitstop faster process where we put two technicians on your car to service and carry out all the necessary checks within an hour, and while you’re there sit in our reception, use our free wifi, have a nice coffee, and within an hour you’ll be back on the road.” ’ Motrio – Renault’s OEM-equivalent parts brand – is another offering that sets the manufacturer apart from rivals, and it’s about to get even more attractive. ‘We’re looking to develop Motrio Service Centres – tie-ups with the independent motor trade where they’ll have affiliation from Renault to be a Motrio centre.’ There’s an additional exciting Motrio-centred development on the way, too. ‘Through our service departments, we’re going to use Motrio parts to offer older-vehicle customers cheaper solutions for services to try to break down customers’ perceptions that the franchise network is expensive, which we’re not. So we’ll offer very attractive service packages using our Motrio parts to tell older-vehicle customers: “Come back to a main dealer and get your car repaired by trained technicians in a professional environment at a very competitive price.” ’

Rising RVs, new product on the way – exciting times ahead

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Has 2019 been a successful year so far in the fleet arena? Our fleet business for this year has been highly successful – we’re up over 4,000 fleet cars year-on-year at the halfway point – with an increase of just under one per cent market share. Our biggest increase has come from our EV range where we have more than tripled our volume. We have maintained the strengths of our LCV business where we are up 2,700 units. That’s a big change and again we’re up a whole percentage point. Would you say the future’s looking good? We’ve just launched a new range of WLTP-compliant vans plus All-New Clio arriving right now, to be closely followed by hybridisation and the All-New Captur PHEV, new ZOE and more vehicles in 2020. It’s

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Q&A

Fleet Director Mark Dickens

new model after new model and that always creates a buzz in the corporate sector. How is the fleet operation structured across the dealer network? If you have a local fleet opportunity of up to 150 units annually, you should have someone in the business who is trained to sell local fleet. Anything over 150 units, a dealer should have a dedicated fleet-trained person, and once you get over 400 units, you should

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be able to become a Pro+ business centre. We have 64 such centres in the UK. All are equipped to charge, service and maintain EVs. Are there any particular areas of focus for you and your team right now? We really want to grow our local fleet business and our presence in the public sector where our expertise with EVs is key. And you clearly do a lot of work helping dealers make the most of used car sales. It’s important that our dealers are fed with good-quality used cars to support our Renault Approved used car brand. As a manufacturer, if you could have 85 per cent of your vehicles repatriated into your dealer network, that would be a good result. We’re running at 93 per cent. We’ve also seen a four percentage point increase in residual values on our cars and vans over the past four years.

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| CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. | 07


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INTERVIEW

Marketing Director Adam Wood: How Dacia won over badge-conscious Brits

Q We do the maths A – and 2019 is going VERY well Renault’s impressive range of cars and vans should be enough to guarantee success for any dealer – and Dacia adds even more potential for profit. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Dacia sales for the first six months of 2019 totalled 18,568 – an impressive increase of 36.3 per cent compared with the same period last year. All-new Duster was the star performer, with a staggering 94.7 per cent increase in registrations compared with the first six months of 2018. Groupe Renault Marketing Director Adam Wood said: ‘There is a proportion of car buyers who don’t want gadgets they don’t use; they want simple, functional transport for a price they want to pay. We’ve been successful because we’ve stuck to that formula and we’ve been transparent with customers about the outstanding value they get. ‘If you follow the simple recipe of helping consumers and telling them what Dacia’s all about, you can make really good money. It can be every bit as profitable as a used car business.’ A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to raise awareness of the Dacia brand in the UK. As an example, it is a consistent supporter of rugby league at all levels and the principal partner of the current Lions team, with its logo on the team’s shirts.

08 | CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. |

How has Dacia performed in the seven years since its arrival in the UK? I was brand manager when we launched Dacia in the UK in 2012. At that time, it had been Europe’s fastest-growing brand since 2004. The question was, would we be able to replicate that in the badge-conscious British market? I think we’ve done pretty well.

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The sales figures speak for themselves with new Duster playing a key role... Yes, we’re the fastest-growing retail brand in the UK this year. We’ve now grown to just over 2.6 per cent retail market share. Things have continued to go from strength to strength this year, particularly with the launch of the new Duster – a tremendous success story.

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Is there a secret to Dacia’s success would you say? Well, statistics show that more than 80 per cent of people in the UK are aware of the Dacia brand. And another key factor is our uniqueness. Dacia is like a recipe. And it’s really

about keeping things simple, smart and very consumer-focused.

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Is there anything dealers need to do differently when selling Dacia cars? Dealers who buy into the ethos of the brand and convey that to consumers will do well. That means understanding the consumer mindset. Dacia buyers are extremely well researched and savvy. They are also valueconscious and like transparency, so if you help them through the decision-making process, you will find 60 per cent of customers will buy the best-specified Dacia in the range, because they still know it’s unbelievable value for money.

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And you’ll soon be needing a new trophy cabinet for your awards! I’ve lost count! What’s been really pleasing is the breadth of provenance of the awards we have won. We have been recognised by industry titles such as Auto Trader and Top Gear but we’ve also received a Reader Recommended award from the Good Housekeeping Institute.

DACIA CARS

Duster

Sandero

Dacia’s incredibly popular SUV is available from just £10,995. There’s a choice of three petrol engines and one diesel model, plus five trim levels from the entry-level Access through to the lavishly equipped flagship Techroad version.

Its fluid lines, defined curves and honeycomb grille are proof that affordable needn’t mean dull. A choice of engines and a surprisingly robust suspension also mean this stylish supermini is equally inspiring behind the wheel. Available from £6,995.

What do the press think? Autocar said: ‘In terms of sheer value, the second-generation Duster is very much in a class of its own.’

What do the press think? Sandero has been voted ‘Best Small Car for less than £12,000’ by What Car? for seven consecutive years.

What do the owners think? Samantha in Aberdeen wrote on Reevoo: ‘So good to drive and so cute to look at. I just love it.’ Lesley from South Yorkshire added: ‘The space and comfort of this car is great. The boot is spacious too.’

What do the owners think? Wendy from Poole wrote on Reevoo: ‘It’s very easy to drive and economical.’ Jean from Renfrewshire said: ‘I love my new Dacia. I’ve never felt so comfortable and confident driving.’


franchise call 01923 895000 or email franchising.enquiries@renault.co.uk

Passion for a very special car... and a business model that really works Marketing Director Adam Wood looks back on a busy 12 months.

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What’s the recent history of Alpine in the UK? Registrations of the A110 commenced in August 2018 and in the first 12 months our seven Alpine centres delivered over 250 cars. In that time the A110 has received widespread press acclaim and won numerous prestigious awards. In August 2019, Autocar proclaimed it to be the ‘best car on sale in the country. And not surprisingly, residual values are incredibly strong – class leading in fact’.

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What impresses you most when you think of Alpine? The way the Alpine brand has succeeded in developing a car which is sufficiently outstanding to challenge the established players – after a 20-year gap effectively – while remaining very loyal to the brand’s ethos and heritage of building agile, light and attractive cars. Notably, it remains loyal to the spirit of the iconic A110 Berlinette – the car that won two Monte Carlo rallies and the World Rally Championships in the early ’70s.

Logan MCV With market-leading boot capacity and ample interior space for five adults, Logan MCV offers plenty of versatility for the entire family (plus pets!). Prices start at £8,495 and three trim levels are available – Access, Essential and Comfort.

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Does Alpine provide a halo effect for Groupe Renault and its network? While Alpine is a separate brand, the very positive press reaction and the numerous awards and accolades bestowed on the A110 have had a positive impact on the awareness and image of Groupe Renault as a whole. Those dealers who have Alpine tend to think that it bestows on them a certain credibility, too.

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What is your approach to expanding and developing the Alpine brand? The Alpine philosophy is to maintain a small but highly motivated and very professional network of dealers to provide sufficient geographical coverage and ensure adequate throughput per site, thereby generating an adequate return on investment for the dealers.

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Has the reintroduction of Alpine been a success? Definitely for the seven Alpine centres who have already opened their doors. It’s relatively simple and inexpensive to deploy the Alpine brand relative to the profit opportunities.

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Would any new dealers kick off with Alpine upon joining the Renault and Dacia network? If it was a dealer in one of the areas where we were currently looking, then potentially yes. The strategy up until now has been to offer Alpine to existing Renault / Dacia dealerships. The philosophy is that Alpine is part of the existing network.

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Any message for a dealer reading this and feeling enticed by Alpine? Alpine represents a business model that really does work. It’s also about passion for an exciting product and for building relationships with customers on a more personal basis than perhaps you would by selling them a Dacia or Renault.

What do the press think? What Car? said: ‘The Logan MCV has plenty of room inside. Its main draw is its incredibly low starting price.’ What do the owners think? Bogdan from Mansfield said on Reevoo: ‘It’s amazing. No bad points – keep it up.’ Peter from Neath added: ‘There’s loads of room in the boot for my three dogs and it’s great on fuel. A great drive for the price.’ | CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. | 09


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Q&A

RCI Financial Services UK Chief Executive Alice Altemaire

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How do you support Renault and Dacia dealers in the UK? We help them in three ways. The first is through the funding line that provides dealers with funding for their inventory of new and used vehicles as well as vehicle parts. That amounted to about £900m of funding to dealers in 2018. The second way is by working as a team with dealers so they can advise their customers about finance products and services appropriately. To enable them to do that, we provide a full range of training, both online and in a classroom-type setting. The third part of our operation is providing dealers with the tools they need – a market-leading customer management suite with bespoke customer loyalty offers and digital tools to enhance the customer experience. What sets you apart from other automotive finance operations? We react very quickly. When a customer is in a showroom, we should be able to provide a proposal and an agreement within 20 minutes – about the time it takes for a customer to take a good look at the car they want to buy and have a coffee with the dealer. Convenience for the customer is at the heart of our strategy. Technology must be speeding things up for all concerned... Yes – 70 per cent of our contracts are electronically signed these days to improve the customer journey. And we recently released a process that involves facial recognition. The customer no longer needs to sign anything – the dealer uses a smartphone to take a picture of the customer and their ID, which validates their identity. It’s quick, robust and secure too. Any neat features on your website that benefit potential customers? We have an ‘eligibility check’ feature. If a customer goes on the dealer’s site or the main Renault site, they can check their eligibility for finance and it won’t affect their credit score. Designing attractive finance offers must be a key part of your role. For sure. In the UK especially, finance products are very important. Our offers play a huge part in encouraging people to make purchasing decisions.

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10 | CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. |

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INTERVIEW

Profit is not a dirty word, it’s top priority for all of us ...but not at the expense of customer satisfaction

T

here’s an old saying in business – turnover is vanity, profit is sanity. Of course, anyone operating in a commercial environment is hoping to gain some financial reward for their efforts and no-one understands this better than Jean-Philippe Roubes. Roubes, pictured, is Director, Customer Experience and Dealer Network Development and has worked for Groupe Renault for 19 years – with 2½ years of that total as a Dealer Principal. Now based in the UK, he is clear about what he wants to achieve on this side of the Channel. He says: ‘What we’re looking to do moving forward, particularly with Brexit and the uncertain times in which we find ourselves, is make the cost of running a Renault dealership as light as possible without compromising the customer experience. We really want our partners to be profitable. If we don’t have a profitable network, they won’t be able to invest with us. ‘My role is to make sure that profitability is present throughout a dealer’s business – not only new cars but used cars and aftersales as well. When we go to a dealership and work with the team on their financial accounts, we look at all areas of the business. ‘The members of our field team are very experienced and can help our dealer partners make planning decisions that will help them develop and grow. Another key part of our role is to work with new dealers joining us in new territories – we focus on making them profitable as quickly as possible.’

So a healthy bottom line is obviously a priority, but without happy customers a dealership of any size is at risk of slipping into the red. Roubes is there to make sure Renault buyers are happy. ‘The other part of my role is customer experience,’ he explains. ‘Everything that is related to the customer experience falls within my responsibility, so it’s important that those working within the dealer network are sufficiently trained to be able to welcome a customer and give them the information they require. We also have a customer relations platform within our head office environment, as it is important to ensure that our customers remain at the heart of our organisation. We communicate with them through all channels, including social media.’ An interesting point is that Renault and Dacia vehicles are always under scrutiny – long after they have been launched to market. ‘My team of technical experts is dedicated to product quality,’ says Roubes. ‘They analyse all data coming from customers and dealers to investigate any incidents, and work with our factories to ensure a continuous improvement of our product quality.’ Roubes is keen to extol the virtues of a Groupe Renault franchise to new dealers. ‘When a dealership chooses our brand, they are choosing both Renault and Dacia. You’ve got affordable mobility with Dacia and passion and technology from Renault,’ he says. ‘As an investor, I would definitely be confident working with the leader in EV and the second-largest LCV brand in Europe.’

‘My role is to make sure that profitability is present throughout a dealer’s business.’


franchise call 01923 895000 or email franchising.enquiries@renault.co.uk

A DEALER’S VIEW

A good, open working relationship – and cars that absolutely hit the sweet spot Paul Hendy, pictured, the Chief Executive of south of Englandbased Hendy Group, discusses life as a Groupe Renault partner.

Q A

How long has Hendy Group held Renault franchises for now? It goes back to 2016 when we acquired Lifestyle Motor Group. Lifestyle had been involved with Renault since 2007 so we took over from them when we bought the business. Our Renault portfolio now includes seven main dealer franchises and one authorised repairer.

Q A

How has Renault changed as a company during that time? I think that under its current leadership it’s all about keeping things as simple as possible. There’s always a danger of things becoming over-complicated, and I’d say that there’s now a recognition that keeping things simple is the way forward. Renault is very supportive, and we have a tremendously honest dialogue with them. They are keen to reduce cost and spend within the relationship – such as simplifying the bonus programme – so they are listening and we are mutually trying to help one another. We have a good relationship.

Q A

Are there any upcoming models you’re looking forward to? I think everyone is looking forward to the All-New Clio. I’m sure we can all remember the early Clio – which was iconic – and this new

one looks amazing, particularly in the cockpit. I think it will really see Renault push forwards once more in the small car segment. This latest Clio will have the impact the classic car had right at the start of the story.

Q A

With Renault offering ZOE, are more customers coming in asking about electrification? Customers are definitely coming in asking about electric cars. It’s a hot topic. ZOE currently accounts for 15 per cent of our sales at the moment, in fact. It has been out there for some time now – since 2013, believe it or not – but I think that Renault has been leading the way in terms of electrification. In addition, the recent expansion of the LCV offering provides us with a unique opportunity to grab this growing part of the market.

Q A

And how does the Dacia brand fit into things? Dacia has been amazing. It’s not far behind Renault when we look at the number of Dacias we sell at retail. It’s been a revelation, and this year has been unbelievable. Dacia cars are just good value for money. They’re high-quality, inexpensive and it’s a really simple proposition

A Hendy Renault-Dacia dealership which is very price-point led. It’s hitting the sweet spot in today’s marketplace. In tough times and difficult markets, it’s brands like Dacia that have a bit of a cut-through. For us, we’re up on volume with Dacia, so it’s been good. It complements the Renault range; they co-exist in the same showroom, so it’s all very simple.

Q A

How is the LCV range faring for you among all the car activity? We are big on commercial vehicles – CV is in our blood. Renault has refreshed most models for 2019 in the Trafic and Master range, which has helped to renew interest. Again, they co-exist alongside Renault passenger models and Dacia in the showroom, and LCVs are actually contributing 27 per cent towards our total Renault registrations. The CVs certainly receive our full attention. The van market is ever-changing but I think Renault has done a great job of putting its foot forward there, and particularly by expanding its EV proposition with both Kangoo and Master.

Q A

How would you sum up your relationship with Groupe Renault? We really do have a good, honest, open working relationship with Renault and there’s an energy in the relationship which is refreshing.

Flexibility and feedback are the watchwords for dealer council

A

s Chairman of Groupe Renault’s dealer council in the UK, Ben Harding knows a thing or two about how the manufacturer works with dealers. Harding is Renault Sales Director for Bristol Street Motors, part of Vertu Motors plc, which operates Renault outlets in cities such as Nottingham, Gloucester and Derby. He is delighted with the way the brand is changing with its high-quality products, simplified line-up and electric vehicles. As part of his council role, Harding has the job of making sure dealers from across the network are represented at manufacturer level. The organisation – which comprises 20 members, including large dealer groups and

smaller independents – has regular Skype calls and face-to-face meetings with Groupe Renault representatives throughout the year. Harding said: ‘We’ve got an exceptional working relationship with Renault. It is flexible, the company listens, and we always try to be reasonable with what we report back. ‘I’ve been with Renault for 24 years. The brand has changed beyond recognition in that time – particularly with the introduction of electric cars and electric commercial vehicles. ‘There have been huge advancements with quality and design, and Renault has kept very much at the forefront of technology.’ One of Harding’s favourite parts of Renault

is the hot Renault Sport (RS) division. Up until recently, only certain dealers were RS specialists, although the products could be ordered from any franchise. However, because the Mégane RS is such an attractive addition to the Mégane range, buyers will soon be able to order and test-drive an RS product at any dealer. Easy Life – Renault’s simple range of trim levels and engine choices – has also made a big difference to everyone, says Harding. ‘It’s another great example of Renault listening to feedback, and it means customers are not bewildered with choice,’ he explained. ‘It makes the buying process much better for both consumer and dealer.’ | CarDealerMag.co.uk | In Focus. |

11


FOCUS.

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GROUPE RENAULT BY NUMBERS Some fascinating facts and figures about a worldwide automotive phenomenon...

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Clio is the best-selling French car of all time.

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For more information about a Renault and Dacia franchise call 01923 895000 or email franchising.enquiries@renault.co.uk

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