28 January 2009
Motor manufacturers risk serious long term damage to their brands and dealer networks.
The damage will happen if leading brands continue to fail to address the issue of leasing companies, ‘blasting’ people’s email inboxes and ‘peppering’ the internet with, potentially misleading, new car ‘fire sale’ type messages.
SME company directors across the UK are being increasingly bombarded by ‘SPAM’ emails offering 3+35 monthly rental quotes of £279 for a Mercedes C class, £429.99 for a Jaguar XF, £489.99 for a Range Rover Sport, £369.99 for an Audi A5… and the list goes on.
The emails arrive at a rate of up to 1 per day, often from previously unheard of organisations, which should be easy for manufacturers to put ‘back in their place’.
- Because, despite many offers looking attractively cheap at first glance, on closer analysis, franchised dealers should have no problem providing better value.
According to David Burton, independent automotive finance marketing consultant at Performance Bonus Ltd, “consumers are assessing value with greater rigour than they have ever done, and manufacturer marketers need to stop worrying that finance or leasing examples may ‘devalue their brand’ in their promotional materials. The real brand damage is being done by the spammers – and the fact that franchised dealer networks, in comparison, are left looking over-priced by their inaction.” He said.
According to Burton, one key strategic imperative in addressing the situation, is that franchised dealerships need to ‘retail their offers’ - to openly promote compelling propositions, confident that brand and legal standards are being complied with. “Customers want to know how much a car is going to cost, in terms they can understand – ie the up front and monthly payments, and the best way to achieve this is for the manufacturer to provide appropriate operating and finance lease products, materials, guidance and training.”
Plus customers, whether they are businesses or consumers, need to know that they are going to be looked after, not ripped off, and Mr Burton believes it won’t be long before stories ‘hit the media’ about independent leasing companies aggressively chasing customers for extortionate ‘end of contract’ penalty charges – for what are essentially ‘wear and tear’ items, in order to boost their profits.
“Manufacturers must make people aware of this… The franchised dealer should be the natural place for the customer to go, not only to choose their car, but also to select the right finance or rental package – perhaps with optional ‘scratch care’ cover to protect against these end of contract charges and enhance their vehicle’s value” he said.
Notes for the Editor
1. Performance Bonus Limited
Performance Bonusis an independently owned company. Performance Bonus was founded in 2001 by David Burton, who has worked in the motor and motor finance market for over 20 years. Based near Bristol, the company provides a range of marketing consultancy, performance measurement and incentive management solutions to help companies improve their performance.
Further information can be obtained by visiting www.performancebonus.com & www.showroomtraffic.co.uk
Download JPEG of David Burton here
Performance Bonus Ltd
Tel: 01291 623355
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