Suzuki’s winning ways
We have only just entered the first days of spring and a new glass cabinet has been installed in the foyer at Suzuki GB headquarters, Milton Keynes, to display trophies and plaques won by the brand in various quarters. Of course, the majority of them are given by motoring magazines, which cynics might suggest is inevitable, when the lure of advertising revenue is incorporated into the mix…after all, none of them would survive without it.
Yet, Suzuki GB does not have the seemingly bottomless pit of some motorcar brands. Placing consumer value for money someway ahead of earning the big profits necessary to splash a brand name across national billboards and to carry out big publicity stunts, means that the company seeks judicious opportunities, such as supporting ‘Take That’ on its recent concert tour, because of the broad appeal of the ‘three-man-band’, at the right age level.
Of course, television advertising is vital for market positioning and a slightly heavier emphasis on Vitara and Swift models highlights a long-established ‘Mars Bar remit’, in that placing the most popular product(s) under the noses of potential customers can garner their interest and generate fresh business. Naturally, conversion from another brand to Suzuki is the primary aim.
However, let us take a closer look at some of 2019’s awards so far: What Car? Magazine, which does try very hard to be as neutral as possible, in respect of all its declarations, gave Suzuki two awards, with Best City Car for less than £9,000 (Celerio) and Best Small SUV for less than £15,000 (Ignis hybrid 2WD).
While most buyers of new cars might tap into What Car’s resources as part of the decision-making process, it means that this pair becomes highlighted in the magazine and online for the best part of a year.
Naturally, consumer instigated awards are significantly more important to the brand and the annual Institute of Customer Services UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) interviews 45,000 consumers to rate their opinions of more than 260 different companies, across 13 different sectors, which include the motor industry. It might be called a ‘very small fish in a truly big pond’, were Suzuki to percolate anywhere close to the surface. Yet, that is precisely what it achieved in late-January.
Of the 24 car brands represented in that single strata, Suzuki escalated to the top spot, increasing its score index from 81.5 in 2018 to 83 for 2019, climbing an exceptional 29 places in the process to 15th overall and the 1st of the car companies. Suzuki dealers were judged to be the easiest to deal with and the most open, giving them a most trusted score of 8.6 out of ten, with a loyalty rating of 8.5. It is a truly great achievement.
Jimny, which has made such an enormous impact on the new car scene this year so far, continues to impress juries of international motoring journalists and made the news that it was running strongly in not one but three categories for the World Car of the Year status. It did the job and lifted Top Urban Car status, at April’s New York Motor Show, which is truly top-drawer stuff. The most recent news that Jimny has also lifted the much-coveted Best 4x4 category at the annual UK Car of the Year Awards underscores the respect given to Suzuki for its most capable 4x4 model in a market sector that is busier than ever.
Finally, Suzuki has done the treble in the much-vaunted, annual Honest John Awards, lifting trophies for Swift (Best Real MPG), Ignis (Best City Car) and Vitara (Best Small Crossover). With Suzuki, we are ALL winners!
Luscombe’s summary: While Luscombe’s never seeks awards, we are always surprised, when we win them and, already in 2019, we are up for a few that never cease to amaze and please us. We know that trying harder is our vital mantra.
Next week: Baleno, the Suzuki that keeps giving
The day that Luscombe became a Suzuki dealership
Digging through Suzuki GB’s archives, Iain Robertson found the Press Release issued by the company to announce the arrival of Luscombe Suzuki to car buyers in the Leeds, West Yorkshire area; it was a very special day indeed!
Alun Parry, the PR Manager for Suzuki GB made the announcement on 20th July 2010 and I quote: “Headed up by Robin Luscombe, the dealership is now open for business and is situated in Hunslet, Leeds, close to Junction 4 of the M621, ideally situated for customers to view Suzuki's comprehensive range of stylish, fun to drive and inexpensive to own cars.
“Luscombe brings a wealth of direct experience to the brand having previously worked and won numerous awards with Colin Appleyard Suzuki, in a career spanning more than 25 years. Robin worked up through the ranks from parts apprentice to various other dealer roles and held latterly a senior director position with the company until mid-2009.
“Robin comments: ‘In launching my own dealership I have realised a lifelong ambition and I am determined to build long-term customer relations and offer great customer service with the help of my compact, passionate and focused team.’”
Robin’s single-minded approach has paid off significantly. In 2014, he won the Dealer Principal of the Year accolade, repeating it in 2017 at the annual Motor Trader Awards ceremony. Ever open to brand-building exercises and projects, Robin worked closely with Aberdeen-based ‘360fortheforecourt.com’ to make a world first use of the advanced technology in May 2016. Using 360-degree images and video, Luscombe Suzuki provides a greater incentive to customers seeking new, or replacement vehicles.
Taking a slice of another important win in 2017, the Press Release surrounding ‘The UK’s Best Dealerships to Work For’ (an award made by Automotive Magazine, a specialist industry title), read as follows:
“Luscombe Motors was recognised for providing an outstanding workplace environment that engages its staff and allows them to flourish. The company is committed to ensuring its employees are motivated and happy through a range of benefits, and promotes a positive workplace culture through:
- Understanding that real improvement starts with a commitment from the top.
- Defining their corporate values and living by them.
- Hiring for team and cultural fit.
- Evaluating productivity versus time served.
- Embracing flexibility.
- Hiring and promoting leaders who love what they do.
- Placing trust and respect at the centre of all relationships.
Luscombe Motors empowers its employees to make decisions and gives them a share in the company profits. They receive twice-weekly text message updates on dealership performance from the managing director which are used to thank them for their efforts. It also hosts social events throughout the year, including a Christmas Party.” Luscombe Suzuki has since won Best Dealership to Work With again in 2018 along with the much coveted Retailer of the Year award by Auto Trader as well as their Customer Choice Award - all in 2018.
Is Luscombe Suzuki special? Well, you are the judge. You decide!
Luscombe’s summary: We are delighted to have our own special place within Suzuki’s national spread. You, our customers, tell us how good we are, where we can improve and make us get to work every day. We are simply glad to be of service.
Next week: The subtlety of Suzuki
Did you like this article? Why not share it?