‘Too many dealers aren’t fabulous,’ said chief Tony Whitethorn. The company has therefore launched ‘Mission Q’, as part of delivering its new dealer brand identity.
Mission Q is a showroom and training programme, aimed at improving dealer standards. ‘We need to ensure all touch points reflect the big steps forward the cars have taken. This includes advertising, product communications – and the dealer network.’
Hyundai is therefore pencilling in 2009 as a year of investment for the network.
But, promises Whitethorn, costs will not be burdensome. ‘I know from my experience at Toyota that demands for overinvestment can cause the dealer network a tough time. Costs here will therefore be quite low.
‘Hyundai will also help, with elements such as subsidies and leasing programmes. It will be a soft landing. But facilities must improve.’
‘Our carrot for dealers is the i20. That’s our investment. Now we want to see theirs!’
Mission Q incorporates a training programme with the showroom refresh. ‘It’s a two-day programme. The first day is installing the identity, the second day is training all the staff.’ This is, specifically, all done on site. Whitethorn says it’s key for instilling the message.
‘And all staff really does mean all – for a complete understanding of what it’s all about. We want to get them to say ‘I understand’. We’re looking for a culture change.’
In 2009, a third of dealers will have the new identity. Key elements include an entrance statement, a reception desk, lead cars displayed on proper stands and an image wall at the back of the showroom.
Whitethorn admits that not all dealers will want to invest. ‘Key dealers must say ‘I want to be part of that’. We will lose some – but they’re in it for the short term, anyway.
‘This is the litmus test. Going from budget to affordable quality is a step change. We’re asking them, ‘do you want to come?’’
By RICHARD AUCOCK