Although we felt your News Analysis on Lexus (MW January 7) provided an otherwise excellent over- view of the challenges it faces in Europe, we feel, as designers of Lexus’ new standalone European dealer network, that you have possibly underestimated its positive impact.
Lexus is not alone in regarding investment in the dealer network as the key to sales and market share growth – all the major car makers are pursuing similar strategies.
Why? Because, with the proliferation of car makes and models, generating loyalty to the manufacturing brand, rather than simply pushing this year’s model, has become the key to building and maintaining market share. And, at last, car makers are realising what a massively under-exploited opportunity dealer networks represent.
At the most basic level, proper attention to building design, lighting and exterior signage can transform strategically located dealerships into powerful three-dimensional advertisements for the brand.
Inside the dealership, manufacturers have an unrivalled opportunity to communicate the values of their brand, not just through visual stimuli, but also through the whole customer-handling process.
It is now recognised that the customer experience – before, during and after sales – is one of the most powerful determinants of whether they return to the brand. The new Lexus dealerships embody the latest thinking on the way buildings, interiors and customer-handling can promote the brand.