Automotive Blog

Multibrand Coming of Age?

130222 - Multibrand PSA

A refurbishment of my local Peugeot dealership is almost complete, which has now emerged from the scaffolding as a multibrand Peugeot and Citroen dealership, with a hybrid Corporate Identity and a multibrand fastfit operation included.  It is perhaps a good indicator of what is to come, as the European industry at manufacturer and dealer level struggles with the dual challenges of a flat or falling new car market and structural decline in aftersales.  This makes maintaining a traditionally sized network of solus dealers and brand-focused workshops more difficult, as the returns do not cover the fixed cost investment.  The photo shows how within the single box, separate Peugeot and Citroen showrooms and entrances have been maintained, but there is a big connecting door, which seems a bit of a fig leaf in terms of protecting brand identity.  Outside the premium brands, and possibly a few of the growing volume brands, we can see a strong argument for more multibranding in sales, supporting the growing trend to online research before a single dealer visit to confirm the purchase.  Multibranded workshops and parts distribution makes even more sense, so despite the new freedoms of the BER to restrict multibranded sales points, the economic realities may drive the industry in the opposite direction.  As we work on our plans to develop the newly-acquired European Car Distribution Handbook, it gives us a challenge as well, in how we reflect this trend in the data we gather and publish!

Written by Steve Young

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