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Renault going for brokers

Date: 23 January 2007   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Keith Hawes

Renault is aiming to combat the growing challenge of brokers on small business fleets by "raising the game" of its dealers in this increasingly hard-fought sector.

The company's fleet director Keith Hawes said: "We need to intensify dealer training on this front. Brokers are soaking up an increasing amount of this business."

He admitted: "We need to know who these potential customers are and get to them more effectively. Every single dealer should be concentrating on local fleet business although it is not practical to have dedicated business managers at every small rural outlet."

With endorsement from Renault UK's new managing director, Roland Bouchara, who calculated there is a potential market of 500,000 sub-25-unit fleet cars, Hawes claimed there was a pool of 1.5 million VAT-registered companies "which have been below most fleet department's radar".

He warned that brokers would continue to expand their influence among small fleets unless manufacturers "open up fleet access to people with even one, two or three cars", and added: "Our plan is to put ourselves in front of them through greater dealer awareness and proactive contacts.

"Our small business [department] already concentrates on sub 100-car fleets via the dealer network. Renault's new fleet-specific website will provide potential trigger points for access to and from small fleets and provides a direct channel to dealers, including referral of prospects to the retail network."

Bouchara said it was "amazing" that 80% of brokers' deals involved cars supplied by franchised dealers and pointed out: "These cars don't materialise from just anywhere so we need to regain the direct initiative."