Dale Wyatt, SuzukiDale Wyatt, Suzuki


No-haggle agency sales ‘underestimate’ value dealers bring to sales process – Suzuki UK boss

  • Suzuki UK and Ireland boss Dale Wyatt again slams agency sales
  • Some carmakers see dealer as a supplier, he says
  • He was writing in Cox Automotive’s most recent report
  • Latest attack echos words Wyatt said at Car Dealer Live in March

Time 9:53 am, December 4, 2023

Some car manufacturers ‘underestimate the value’ dealers bring to the sales process by introducing no-haggle agency agreements, one car boss has said.

Suzuki UK and Ireland chief Dale Wyatt has reiterated his opposition to the agency model and has declared car dealers are the ’embodiment’ of the brands they represent.

Writing in Cox Automotive’s latest Insight Report, Wyatt said: ‘Some manufacturers view the dealer as a cost. And they want to use agency to effect a knowledge and relationship transfer.

‘I think some manufacturers underestimate the value that the dealer brings. They see the dealer as almost a supplier, a service provider, or a subcontractor rather than a partner.’

Wyatt’s latest swipe echoes words he said at Car Dealer Live earlier this year.

At the conference he slammed the sales model, saying: ‘As [Suzuki is] an established manufacturer, if I’m serious about agency then I need to fire my management team,’ he said.

‘Fire me and hire Daksh Gupta – because I’m not a retailer.

‘I’ve got to change all of my processes. I’ve got a huge investment in IT and a cultural change to oversee, with the punishing implications of taking on all of the stock. It’s not for me.’

To a packed audience of dealers, he added: ‘When you’re only after 2% of market share you can stand out from the crowd,.

‘We want to stand out for being different and unique and focus on the things that matter.’

Wyatt’s comments in Cox Automotive’s report come as BMW is rumoured to have delayed its implementation of agency sales to its UK dealer network by six months to 2026, as revealed by Car Dealer.

Mini, too, has kicked agency sales by at least six months into 2025, while Lotus is reportedly reversing on its introduction of the model.

Mercedes-Benz, which switched to the no-haggle model in January 2023, insisted it’s working when Mercedes boss Gary Savage spoke exclusively to Car Dealer in recent months.

However, the German carmaker has since launched a series of heavily subsidised deals and sales events to boost demand.

In July, Car Dealer published research into agency sales and revealed 18 car manufacturers will move to agency sales.

Eight brands ruled out moving to agency completely while 21 car either failed to comment or chose not to issue a statement to Car Dealer.

Commenting on Wyatt’s latest words, Cox Automotive insight director, Philip Nothard, said: ‘The apparent reversals on the part of some OEMs suggest that the model is still a work in progress.

‘Although not a major player in terms of market share, Lotus’s apparent change of heart is incredibly significant and could trigger more negativity about the agency model.

‘In our latest Insight Report, we delve into the complexities of the agency model and make the point, among other things, that it can’t be a “one-size-fits-all”. A new kind of dealer is emerging, and various strains of the model will be rolled out that address the concerns many dealers no doubt have.

‘It’s a fluid space with many details still to be ironed out.’

Car Dealer Live returns to the British Motor Museum on March 7, 2024.

The conference will focus on the used car industry and will feature the biggest names in the car dealer business from franchised dealers to leading independents, luxury car dealers to car manufacturer bosses.

You can find out more information here and book tickets.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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