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MG targets 'long-term' relationships with fleet

Date: 01 July 2016   |   Author:

Chinese-owned British brand MG is looking to build "long-term relationships" with the business car market, despite being almost entirely retail-focused at present.

The company admitted that its new GS comes only with a single petrol engine because that's where the volume is in retail terms, which is 90% of MG business, while most diesel Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5 models, the core rivals for the new SUV, go into fleet. "Diesel is predominantly the fleet market and to grow as a franchise we need to make sure the dealers are successful, so we unashamedly developed a vehicle for the retail market," explained MG's sales and marketing director Matthew Cheyne.

The company recently appointed a new fleet coordinator in Ben Morris, formerly of Nexus Vehicle Management, and Cheyne told BusinessCar that partnerships are key to any business car aspirations held by the company.

"We mustn't ignore the fleet market but we must be realistic about where we play; I could go talk to Avis and sell 5000 cars at a 50% discount," he said. "We want to develop relationships where we grow for the long term, and form partnerships in decision-making.

"I'm realistic - big fleet companies are very entrenched with other manufacturers and it takes very deep pockets," continued Cheyne. "I'm about growing organically. We're very successful when we start talking to people who don't have access to the big discount deals - a lot of [personal contract hire] and salary sacrifice. We're doing a few cars with a lot of partners."

Cheyne did say that he expects the current 10% fleet ratio to increase in the coming years. "If you look at where the market is going, retail is shrinking because of the way manufacturers are doing it," he said. "That sector is under threat and we would like to see the business segment grow, but grow profitably - not volume for volume's sake."

The company has upgraded its warranty for the new GS, offering a five-year and 80,000-mile guarantee rather than the three-year and 60,000-mile deal on its current models.
"This is a great car. We believe in it so we're putting our money where our mouth is," Cheyne said. "Plus with the 15,000-mile service intervals, the cost of ownership is very cheap for this car.