Suzuki has revealed that it will be offering every one of its dealers a ‘Covid support payment’ of up to £10,000, potentially costing the manufacturer £1.5m.
The payment is dependent on the dealer being ‘Covid safe and lockdown ready’, and will be paid in December based on the results of a self-assessment.
Speaking to Car Dealer, Suzuki GB boss Dale Wyatt explained that it would be ‘rewarding proactivity’ and ‘paying for new activity’ by asking dealers to resolve any digital disconnects.
He warned that he doesn’t believe this will be the end of the lockdown and wants to help support dealers for this.
He said: ‘I think there will be a series of restrictions beyond this on the horizon for at least the next couple of quarters.’
Dealers will be paid based on a three tier system, and will receive £5,000 for meeting the basic standard, another £2,500 for reaching intermediate or the full £10,000 for being at the advanced level.
The criteria includes having processes for contactless sales and click-to-buy, as well as digital website features such as live chat, online part-exchange evaluation, videos for Covid safety procedures and promoting all of these elements on social media.
Wyatt, pictured above, said: ‘We’ve got a network of 160 dealers and a third still don’t have live chat while another third doesn’t have a reserve-a-car feature.
‘There were lots of things dealers could be doing, and lots were doing individual pieces, but we wanted to create a list of best practice.
‘I think if you can have between a third and two-thirds of your normal volume during a lockdown situation if you have all of these best practices in place.’
He added: ‘We’re still doing all of the normal things for dealers in regards to targets, bonuses and cash flow but we wanted to do more than that. We wanted to find a way to help the dealers kickstart digitally and get better at retailing in a lockdown environment.
‘Every dealer will be issued a self-assessment document to review their business and create an action plan. Then in December we’ll pay based on their results.
‘We’re trying to look after ourselves and our network at the same time. We hope they can use this quieter period to do the things they know they should be doing.’