AM News Show: Auto retailers need to adopt a ‘recession mindset,’ says Suzuki GB’s Dale Wyatt

Suzuki GB Automobile Director Dale Wyatt told car retailers it’s time to stop patting the back and start planning with a “recession mindset” to succeed in a cost of living crisis. .

Speaking with AM News and Features Editor Tom Sharpe for the latest episode of the AM News Show podcast, the brand leader voiced his opposition to agency-model retailing, discussed Suzuki’s supply challenges and shared the thinking behind their new #GoodDifferent marketing campaign.

But after an intense period of meetings with franchisees about Suzuki GB’s priorities and brand values, he also stated that retailers needed to execute a strict plan after the boom and bust period brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reflecting on the change the pandemic has brought to the industry, Wyatt said: “We have all been able to spend more time in our homes with our families and we want more. And that has affected the way merchants, employers and employees feel about work.

“The other thing is that we got lazy. We had a year of distorted returns.

“I got tired of the number of people patting themselves on the back and celebrating the great things they were doing because of environmental change instead of the actions they took.

“I wanted to say to our distributors ‘if you took action and executed the plan brilliantly well done, but if you did nothing and the marketing lifted you up, look at yourselves because the tide is turning.'”

He added, “It’s about reminding distributors of the need to have clean habits and do the things they need to do to be successful.”

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Wyatt urged auto retailers to put in place a plan that would prepare them for the challenges ahead, as consumer confidence seemed increasingly affected by inflation hovering around 10%.

“A lot of people complain about the lack of success they’ve had with a plan they didn’t write,” he said. “I think it’s important that you really develop a plan and execute it.

“It is important in times of recession to be clear about your value proposition and why they should choose you.

“Thinking about how to attract a retailer with a recession mindset is one of the key ingredients.”

Earlier this week, AM posted another one of the latest episodes of the AM News Show podcast, featuring Steven Eagell Group CEO Steven Eagell.

In it, he talks about his role in ensuring that the AM100 car retail group recruits “better than me” so that it has the skill set to succeed.

Eagell also discussed the challenges of the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), new car supply shortages and its strategy for further growth following its recent acquisition of Inchcape Oxford Toyota dealership.

To watch this and other episodes of the AM News Show podcast, produced in association with Armchair Marketing, click here.

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