Manufacturers are investing more time and training into the development of their dealer staff to make sure they have the edge over competitors to grow fleet business.
Being able to provide practical advice and quotes tailored to cost reduction is becoming increasing important for fleets.
Manufacturers that have dedicated dealer staff for corporate customers recognise the need to demonstrate cost savings and competitive pricing packages that are key to winning corporate accounts in today’s economic climate.
The Jemca Toyota Business Centre at Edgware Road is one example of how a group has strived to deliver a dedicated fleet team. Led by Chris Rogers, Jemca Group business centre manager, his team at Edgware Road consists of Paul Burnham, centre supervisor, Jeff Cohen, sales executive, Julie Cottrell, key account controller, Marco Santos, vehicle coordinator and Raj Patel who oversees the vehicle compound.
Marco Santos is solely responsible for making sure that all the vehicles are ready and released on time, he carries out the checks on the cars, make sure accessories are fitted and that they look presentable.
“There is nothing worse than promising and not delivering, I am very strict on making sure everything is prepared the day before so that the customer has their vehicle first thing the next day,” Rogers explains.
The purpose built business centre creates the perfect setting for Toyota to fully focus on maintaining and growing their fleet business. They have a large fleet of demonstrators so that vehicles can be taken out on loan by prospective customers for longer periods of time, even overnight in some situations.
The compound site is located less than a mile from the business centre, can store around 200 vehicles at one given time. Not many dealers have a facility of this scale, the centre has the potential in some cases to turnaround vehicle sales within 24 hours.
“It is important for us to be able to get out there and explain the key benefits that Toyota has to offer for fleets and looking after customers from an Aftersales perspective is equally important so we keep the business we have,” Rogers explains.
Helping Corporate Customers
A key objective for dealer staff is to build relationships with their customers, making sure they are able to tailor quotes to individual company needs. With emphasis increasingly on cost, being able to offer competitive quotes is essential.
Manufacturers are increasing the emphasis on training and development to make sure all their dealer staff are up to date with the latest tax legislation, residual values and wholelife costs, to enable them to give fleets the full picture and trained to be able to provide practical advice and information to help companies further.
“It’s not just about selling cars anymore but about the whole package,” Rogers explained.
More and more manufacturers are looking to grow corporate business to be able to offer companies a more complete solution. Having a robust servicing and maintenance system in place is also important, Rogers believes it is the little added extras that set the group apart.
“We put little added extras to help seal the deal like filling the car with fuel when it is delivered and all customers get free manufacturer mats.” Rogers said.
Toyota vehicles include a 5 year warranty over 100,000 miles with maintenance included. Corporate customers can also enjoy preferential rates, a priority line to get booked in and a courtesy car. The team aims to make the experience for the customer as convenient as possible, with the clear message that they are ‘here to help’.
“As long as we do everything in our power to help them and the customer knows we have done everything, there is very little else we can do”, Cohen said.
Toyota’s Plans for Growth
With the plug-in Prius due for release early 2012 and the Yaris Hybrid following suit in the same year, Jemca Toyota recognises the need to capitilise on the growing demand for reduced CO2 emissions.
“When it comes to selling hybrid and electric vehicles, we have the added benefit of being in London where these vehicles will have the best performance,” Rogers said.
The Edgware Road site will also be having charging points fitted to co-inside with the launch of the new plug-in Prius.
“We will be putting up a recharging network to facilitate electric vehicles, with fuel prices continuing the way they are, electric vehicles are the future.” Chris Rogers said.
The business centre plans to target businesses around London to showcase the benefits of running Toyota vehicles in their fleet for 2011.