Nissan has no plans to follow Alfa Romeo and DS Automobiles and enter into agency agreements with its dealer network in the short-term future because it says the current model works.
Speaking to Car Dealer, Nissan Motor GB managing director Andrew Humberstone explained he had no intention to change his dealer network’s activities as it readies itself to roll out a suite of new products.
‘So many people are looking at this [agency sales] and there’s so much discussion. I would say, arguably, it’s being overanalysed,’ he said.
‘What I would look at is what’s working for my dealers – that’s my key priority. We’re about to launch five amazing new products and the current model works. It works for our dealers.
‘That’s what we’re focusing on for 2022 and 2023 and that’s where our energy is.’
When pushed on whether an agency sales model could be introduced after 2023, Humberstone doubled down on not wanting to ‘disrupt’ the current model.
‘Time will tell,’ he said.
‘But if I go back to the number of new models we’re launching, the big picture strategy and the £1bn investment into Sunderland that Nissan has made, we’ve got so much going on.
‘We want to focus on really driving our business forward.
‘We are really focused and busy with that, and the last thing we want to do is disrupt our dealer network at this particular point.’
When asked why the agency sales model was being considered by so many in the motor industry, Humberstone said: ‘Because the current model is 100 years old.
‘Consumers are moving to a more digital and online experience, therefore the natural segue is, “Okay, what’s the role of the dealer?”
‘To me it’s quite obvious what the role is, but I think, by definition, there’s just this mindset of reducing total distribution costs.
‘We’ve still got to remember that the dealer network is a critical element in the sales process, and that business model has to be commercially viable for them.
‘We are focusing on building our overall opinion of our brand, we’re focusing on launching new product, we’re focusing on customer satisfaction, we’re making significant investment into the UK specifically.
‘Our focus now is to deliver a significant back order of vehicles but also launch these new products and ensure that we deliver those to the customers as quickly as possible, given the challenges that we’re all facing.
‘I think that experience in the relationship with our dealers and our customers is where our focus should be. Otherwise, we will get distracted with all kinds of noise.’
Humberstone was speaking to Car Dealer at Nissan’s new Live Showroom in Watford.
Customers can request live walk-arounds of the Leaf, Qashqai and new Ariya, and speak to product experts. Leads are then passed on to dealers.
The facility initially launched last year for the then-new Qashqai, but has now been expanded to include the Leaf and Ariya electric models after positive customer feedback.
In a wide-ranging interview, Humberstone also discussed how the car industry’s model of oversupply has hopefully gone forever, increased sales targets in 2022 and his hopes for the new Ariya electric crossover. You can read it in issue 169 of Car Dealer Magazine, out on March 17.