Watch this space

Fundamentally different 

Author: Mike Edwards, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer

The ability to change and reinvent itself continuously has been a major strength for the motor retail sector. Part of this agility has been driven by fresh thinking from potential market disruptors. The shift towards EVs and agency retailing models represents the latest and very significant challenge to what some may see as traditional motor retailing. It will be fascinating to see how the future distribution of new cars plays out, and I’m sure Polestar is one of the brands that will have a say in leading this latest evolution.

So much of a motor retailer’s success lies in its ability to delight customers. Today this experience embraces online, where most people first find their ideal car and dealer, offline through the customer experience and post-sale, which can be a combination of maintenance and remediation, attending to faults and issues such as recalls.

While perceptions may be hard to change, a significant challenge for Polestar will surely be the high levels of customer satisfaction that dealers achieve regularly. As an example, the UK’s largest retail group, Sytner, has a 4.6/5 ‘excellent’ rating from over 34,000 customers on Trustpilot. It is most certainly not alone. I respect Jonathan Goodman’s view that he doesn’t think ‘the traditional dealer approach fits with the 21st century.’ I’m not so sure. We are a fifth of a way into the 21st century. Today motor retailing is a highly regulated and complex environment. Successful retailers have adapted and evolved and managed the differing ‘wants’ of customers and OEMs as stakeholders.

It is hard to be genuinely different in motor retailing, and the arrival of a brand that promises to be different by focusing on design as a differentiator has to be admired. I will be an avid watcher of its development.

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