Dale Wyatt, SuzukiDale Wyatt, Suzuki


Suzuki boss expecting major market shift in 2024 as he warns dealers not to get too ‘cosy’

  • Dale Wyatt discusses changing market dynamics for car dealers
  • Suzuki boss expects a return to a ‘push’ market in 2024
  • He also warns retailers not to become ‘cosy’ and encourages them to be more ‘proactive’

Time 11:07 am, February 26, 2024

Suzuki’s UK boss is expecting a major shift in market dynamics this year and has warned dealers to be ready for change.

Dale Wyatt, director of Suzuki UK and Ireland, says retailers should expect a return to a ‘push market’ in 2024, similar to conditions before the pandemic.

A push market is where dealers are left to create activity rather than simply managing it, which has been the state of play of recent years, largely as a result of crippling parts shortages.

Wyatt, who appeared at last year’s Car Dealer Live conference, also accused some dealers of becoming ‘cosy’ and warned that they need to be more ‘proactive’.

He said: ‘Many people haven’t the muscle memory for performing in a push market.

‘That’s one where you’ve got to create activity rather than manage it. We’re in a period of what I call post-covid cosiness.

‘The key thing to think about now is how to survive in a market that punishes inactivity and rewards consistent proactivity.’

Asked what dealers should do to remain competitive this year, Dale encouraged a change of mindset in order to be successful.

He added: ‘I also think too many are following the crowd.

‘There are close to 40 brands in the UK now, 100s of products and thousands of places to buy them.

‘There are plenty of businesses delivering bad experiences to customers. To stay competitive, it’s about getting your core processes right.

‘Let your people shine and do the basics brilliantly. Don’t get in the way of your management team, become an enabler rather than a blocker.’

Wyatt’s comments came during a recent appearance on Cox Automotive’s Insight Report Podcast.

He was joined on the show by Cox Automotive’s Insight Director Philip Nothard, who echoed the Suzuki chief’s thoughts on the changing market.

He said: ‘The changes we’re seeing underline the fact that it’s time for dealers to get their running shoes on and get back to selling, as opposed to order-taking.

‘Supply has increased significantly, and the market is ripe for agile business owners to do what they do best.’

Dale still against agency approach

Dale has been a long-standing critic of agency sales over recent years, favouring a more traditional relationship with his brand’s retail partners.

Last year, he described dealers as ‘pillars of their communities and accused other manufactures of ‘underselling’ them.

He has also previously told Car Dealer that there is no compelling argument for agency sales’.

He has now doubled down on his stance and told Nothard that agency models were ‘a design-and-build project’ rather than a purpose-built one.

He explained: ‘If you watch Grand Designs, the houses are invariably fantastic by an episode’s end. But they normally go over budget and take much longer than planned.

‘That’s how agency will go; some will get it right, and a lot will get it wrong in the process.

‘Every business problem has two legs, i.e., they’re always people related. It’s the people you’re accountable to, for and those you serve. So that means bosses, employees and customers.

‘Decisions must be weighed carefully because they will always affect at least one of those stakeholders.

‘Another great piece of advice once given to me: Not everything that can be counted counts – and everything that counts can’t be counted. I think that speaks for itself.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

More stories...

Auto Trader Advert
Server 108