The European retail motor industry is currently facing an unprecedented number of major forces for change. For independent dealer businesses to survive, they must clearly demonstrate to consumers that they represent the best possible channel for the acquisition and maintenance of their motorisation needs. They must also demonstrate to manufacturers that they represent the best route to market for them. Proposes a way that dealers can not only survive but, in co‐operation with their manufacturers, prosper in the market of the future. Such an approach would comprise the removal of wasteful activity, the reduction of costs and prices, delivering greater customer value and improving customer retention. In short, true lean distribution. The concept centres on a “customer account manager”, who pro‐actively manages the consumer’s needs for after‐sales of all types, thereby managing demand and removing waste from the system. As a consequence of this demand management, he or she is able to monitor the consumer’s needs (and even his family’s needs) for a new or used replacement car, again removing waste. The approach enables the dealer to exchange ineffective, costly, direct marketing and advertising for value‐adding contacts from which the consumer and manufacturer directly benefit, thereby creating a virtuous circle.
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