Reilly believes that the ability to service vehicles will safeguard the future of the franchise network. In the last two years the Luton-based manufacturer has reduced its franchised dealer network from more than 500 to about 340 outlets.
'We have no plans to own our dealers,' Reilly told Fleet NewsNet. 'Although we have a subsidiary company which owns some of the equity in some dealers that is merely a method to help dealers to become established and the aim is always that the dealers will buy that stake back.'
'We must make sure our brand is looked after and, therefore, we see a long term future for a franchised network of dealers who can look after and service cars throughout their life. It is possible that supermarkets or a network of independent dealers could sell new cars, but where those vehicles are serviced is key and fleets as well as retail customers need the franchised network. I cannot see that disappearing.'