THE managing director of Vauxhall Motors and Opel Ireland, Stephen Norman, has revealed that around 80 of its UK dealerships will be lost in the refranchising that was announced in April.
The move means that all 330 dealerships have now been given written notice, and their contracts will be terminated on April 30, 2020. Speaking to Car Dealer earlier this week, Norman said that around 250 would remain.
The reduction in the number of dealerships will have the benefit of leading to increased sales through each of the remaining sites.
He said: ‘By moving from 330 dealerships to circa 250, we will move the new retail car throughput [per dealership] from 290 to 415. There are no guarantees in this industry, but this should give us a stronger network looking into the 2020s.
‘The purpose of this is to forestall what we see as the inevitable concentration of the motor business as far as Vauxhall is concerned so people can make a decent living out of it.’
The forthcoming shake-up will mean that Vauxhall will remain the second largest brand in the UK by location, bested only by Ford.
Norman also revealed plans to reduce the level of pre-registration Vauxhall is involved in to improve profitability for dealerships.
He explained: ‘I intend to bring it back to the national average, excluding Vauxhall’s own current activity from this figure.
‘There’s a quantitative increase that’s largely vans, but the qualitative move means that we will reduce the amount of pre-registration activity that is mainly passenger cars, so it’s sort of a double movement.’
Vans will play a large part in Vauxhall’s growth strategy for the next two years with the introduction of 50-70 new business van centres.
‘We will be specialising our network of retail outlets so that between 50 and 70 become what we call business van centres,’ Norman told us.
‘These will distribute all of our volume of LCV, including to other retail dealers if they continue to sell. They will all have the right to sell. However, when it comes to aftersales, the entire network will be able to service the product.’
‘It might seem a little old hat but we’re trying to have the best of both worlds. We’ll be specialising the sales activity into 50 to 75 business van centres and leaving the servicing to all retail outlets.’
Norman took over the reins of Vauxhall Motors and Opel Ireland on February 1, 2018, with the businesses as a whole under the new leadership of PSA Group and its CEO Carlos Tavares.