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New face for Honda

Classy: An artist's impression of Honda's new-look dealership blueprint.

Honda Australia is building a fresh look for its expanding dealer network

Honda logo24 Jun 2008

By PHILIP LORD

HONDA Australia is following the lead of German marques Audi and Mercedes-Benz in its renewal of dealerships to better represent the brand, with“consistency” paramount.

“We’re a bit behind in that area, so were taking pretty rapid action.” Honda Australia senior director Lindsay Smalley told GoAuto last week.

“Dealers are in partnership with Honda to refurbish all of their dealerships – it involves a significant investment.” Mr Smalley said Honda Australia was going “dollar for dollar” in the dealership overhaul “to provide branding consistency and consistent brand communication, so that when you go into a Honda dealership anywhere in the country, we want a consistent message flowing into the facility”.

Some Honda dealers have been selling with the brand for many years and have not kept pace with size or style of their facilities, despite Mr Smalley emphasising that “there are some fantastic dealerships out there”.

“Some of these dealerships have evolved over 40 years with the Honda franchise, and we need to make quick decisions on changing these dealerships,” he said. “Other dealerships have been built more recently but we haven’t applied a set of fit-out standards for those dealers.

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“Externally, there will be common design elements applied to every dealership.”

Mr Smalley said the set architecture would be complemented by total facility capacity in line with Honda’s growing market share.

He added that customers will go into more than one Honda dealership in major urban areas, so the consistent branding is important in that respect, but also many customers come back for servicing so Honda wants to ensure that these customers can rely on a sense of familiarity and professionalism.

Pilot dealerships have been set-up over the past six months using the new guidelines, such as Astoria Motors in Melbourne and Capital Honda in Canberra.

The renovation of 103 dealers nationwide will take two years, and according to Mr Smalley “only one dealer has selected not to continue”.

There are even more dealers queuing to join Honda anyway.

“By 2010 we’ll have 120 dealers nationally. (The new dealers) will be coming into newly developing areas in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and country regional centres,” he said.

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