New car marketNewsCV ShownewsUsed caranalysisNews RecruitmentdigestDealerprofileShowroomTo view all the images of the most important model launches at the CV Show Click here problem of ageing CV sales forceClary also said Ford has an initiative in mind that has been discussed with dealers that will counter the potential lost service hours as a result of the Transit's extended servicing interval.Clary said: "We understand how longer service intervals will affect dealer service departments but we're working on something innovative which will be available at launch." Clary would not be pushed on whether it would be a free health check, but did say it would not be "just another service".No network shake-upClary confirmed there would not be a "disman-tling or massive shake-up" of the Ford CV network which is made up of 104 specialist CV dealers and 100 Transit specialists.He said: "I'm very happy with the dealers that we have in place. They're doing a great job."Clary said it was difficult to pull out an average profitability figure, but the share of total profita-bility within the network was "coming up".Ford launched the new Transit at the Commer-cial Vehicle Show in Birmingham and while the model already has an "extensive customer base", the brand is hoping it will broaden the appeal in the market.Clary said: "We want to attract new customers to the range. The current Transit is great at what it does, but it's very utilitarian. We want to attract more owner operators, guys that need to use their work vehicles as a car for their families too."Max will push it into top spot in the pick-up marketmore premium range. It's got a better specifica-tion and we've now got four derivatives for the first time - we only previously had three."Asked if moving the brand upmarket would confuse its previous marketing position as solely a commercial vehicle, rather than a lifestyle model, Brown said: "Our message is still that it's a fit for purpose commercial vehicle. We will have a more lifestyle-orientated derivative, but the core focus is still on business use."IM Group also imports Chinese pick-up manu-facturer Great Wall, but Brown said the models competed at different ends of the spectrum.
Dealer profile Snows Groupuring its 50 years in business, Snows Group has taken a diverse entrepre-neurial path towards motor retail.Founder Geoff Snow had a love of cars from an early age, spurring on a career in competitive autocross, which he continued even after his first acquisition, a bookshop and stationers in 1962. His entrepreneurial spirit saw him invest and acquire various businesses over the years, including a printing works and office supplies company. There was a slight setback in 1965 when Snow suffered several injuries in a motor racing accident when his car overturned and burst into flames. He broke four ribs, dislocated a shoulder, suffered internal injuries which resulted in the loss of his spleen and seven pints of blood.He checked himself out of the hospital to get back to the business after just two weeks. New business ventures followed, including a ladies' hair salon and boat building business. However, it wasn't until 1980 when Snow invested in a BMW dealership at London Road, Kings Worthy, that the business caught the motor retail bug. That dealership became a Volvo site and another BMW business in Portsmouth was added to create the group. These two sites were the "backbone" of the group, which enabled the business to expand to its network of 19 dealerships with eight Manufacturer relationships are key to successSouth of England group believes in getting the basics right and concentrating on providing local customers with quality serviceContinuesDdifferent brands across the south of England. The group has gone on to alsorepresent Kia, Lexus, Mini, Peugeot, Seat and Toyota.Current chairman Stephen, Geoff's son, joined the business in 1981 and the group has continued its long lasting partnership with its manufacturers.Stephen started straight from school into the family business, because, as he said, "that's just how it was in those days".He worked across the business moving from the parts department, to the workshop, he cleaned cars, worked in admin, sales management and then in 1986 Snows bought a Toyota dealership and he was thrown in at the deep end to run it at the age 22.He said: "I'd worked in all the departments and I had already worked as a sales manager at a Mazda site in Southampton. It was a natural progression, but it was at a young age." He took over from his father as group chairman in 2007, just before the banking crisis.Manufacturer relationshipsThe group is built on maintaining strong relationships with its manufacturer partners and the business has developed with BMW and Volvo for more than 30 years.Snow said: "To get on in the trade, we believe that you need a great relationship with your manufacturers.