February 02, 2022
| Author: Martyn Collins
In 2021, alongside the new product, Suzuki UK’s fleet department saw its operations centralized with a new national fleet manager at the helm, in the form of Lee Giddings. Martyn Collins tells him about the manufacturer’s fleet plans moving forward.
Lee Giddings has only been in his role for 10 months, leading the new fleet team at Suzuki. Prior to that, he joined the Japanese automaker as Head of Rental, Leasing and Mobility Contracts. So, company car asked about his plans for Suzuki’s fleet presence – after what has been a successful period for the manufacturer in the fleet.
“Our ambition has always been to grow our presence in the fleet market, and we continue to do so in the right channels. As a brand, Suzuki prides itself on being different and we have focused a lot of energy on this. domain and how we can stand out from competing brands, whether it’s events, marketing or customer communication and I’m confident it will shine through 2022.
“We’ve also streamlined many processes internally to ensure we’re ‘easy to deal with’ throughout the customer journey.
“We felt that Suzuki’s old Sales Partner Program was a little too complicated, so we replaced it with a new Direct Selling Partner Program. This streamlined program benefits both the customer in terms of levels of service and also to our network in terms of clarity and understanding, while ensuring national coverage.”
Giddings realizes the continued importance of the fleet to Suzuki and getting the message out to corporate customers.
“Fleet to Suzuki has always been about providing additional, profitable volume to the brand and that has not changed. We want to increase volumes, but it is also extremely important that we do it in the right way and in the right channels. .
“Let’s just say we have exciting plans to do that in 2022.
“I think the fleet market has been excited about our introduction and we are now a considered choice for fleet customers. I am really pleased with the feedback we are getting directly from our key partners which is both refreshing and exciting for the future.”
Much of Giddings’ confidence in Suzuki fleet volume growth is due to its belief that the current Suzuki lineup is particularly relevant.
“Now, more than ever, I’m confident that we truly have a fleet-ready product line. From our compact SUV, the Ignis, which is ideal for the public sector and wage sacrifice programs, to the Across, our very first PHEV and halo model for our brand, ideal for company car drivers with top-notch BIK levels.
“We firmly view the leasing industry as our priority, not only because of the excellent relationships we have in place, but also the importance for these leasing companies to provide more opportunities for end users and support the growth of our public sector.
The importance of the current Suzuki lineup being made up of models featuring mild-hybrid, full-hybrid and plug-in technology is not lost on Giddings as they move towards electrification.
“I think this presents us with a great opportunity as we move towards more electrified products. That said, in the segments we compete in, there is a relatively small number of electric vehicles on offer, so that’s really a case of good product, good time for us.
“Our focus last year was to introduce the Swace (pictured) and Across models to the fleet industry, as both models were launched during lockdown times. It has proven to be a real success , and we have since seen very good volumes on both models. Swace is now our highest volume model across all fleet channels. Of course, key models such as Swift and Vitara continue to perform well and, as I mentioned, the new S-Cross will play a central role for us next year.
“We haven’t put a figure on the fleet/retail mix for the new S-Cross as such, however, this car naturally lends itself to the fleet market. Just a few weeks ago we We’ve presented the car to industry guides, and I’m delighted to say we’ve achieved class-leading residual values on the car, which if we’re honest we were embarrassed with the older model. gives us much greater opportunities with funded fleet activities.
So there’s already a real awareness of Suzuki as a fleet choice, with riders exiting other cars – but which ones?
“To be honest, it’s such a diverse mix. Since Covid, we’ve seen people move away from premium brands for our products, but we’ve also seen people naturally move towards us from our main competitor brands. .”