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Dealer profile Pendragonand processes, if it can make us more efficient and effective. Process which we'd link to cost, because generally speaking it improves your cost and your productivity."Now that every dealer has become switched on to service plans and vehicle health checks, Pendragon is using technology to "move the needle".It's a needle that must move, because the number of franchised dealerships in the UK is in decline, those that remain make increasing investments in facilities and standards and optimise all aspects of their business because, meanwhile, the new car retail market has shrunk and the leasing industry dominates.Smaller networks in futureFinn believes a contraction in the franchised networks is needed, as the footprint of UK dealerships hasn't declined in pace with the opportunities. Throughput per location is a big issue for profitability. He described Renault UK's decision to cut a third of its dealerships as "based on logic and therefore likely to be successful" and said a change to the sector's busi­ness model is needed, as dealer margins become more of an issue. But the change will be driven by the manu­facturers."Things need to change, but that's not my decision is it? I'm not in control of the new car market, or the way that new cars are sold so from our perspective we can only adjust and adapt to fit in with the market. We can't actually make the market do what we want it to do. You know there's no question about it, the structural change in the market is the thing that affects the dealers, and that can only be described as struc­tural change.""The thing that obviously I have to address is what's happening to our business, but the new car market is Sponsored byContinuesrun by the car manufacturers and we'll do what we can do in that market. We'd expect, in any market where we represent the manufacturer, to do a good job for the manufacturer, but no matter what we do we can't change the UK market."He questioned whether consolidation over the past 10 years had benefited dealers commercially. For Pendragon the biggest benefit has been achieving the scale to apply technology to become more efficient, he said. However, he warned dealers' investments cannot be sustained forever if they cannot make a return without the "smokescreen" of property appreciation.After a 20-year period when Pendragon doubled in size every three years through acquisition, the economic climate has led it to focus on the business it has. Not everything worked out. Finn said with hindsight there would've been plenty of things to change, but there's little point to hindsight. But the wins make up for the losses. Pendragon has topped the sector for more than a decade.Finn claimed Pendragon has a better business "We can double, maybe triple our profitability with what we've got"Trevor FinnDealers' investments cannot be sustained forever if they cannot make a profit without the 'smokescreen' of property appreciation

New car marketNewsDealerprofileNew carnewsUsed carRecruitmentanalysisNews digestShowroomfootprint today than it ever had, with stronger, adaptable teams and more depth - robust foundations for build-ing upon. It also has greater levels of management information, and more focus on customer data and engagement. Creating a local business feel"We can double, maybe triple our profitability with what we've got," he said. Pendragon may be huge by dealer group standards, but Finn knows the business ultimately comes down to every single customer-facing person. Despite the processes, frameworks and systems, they're the person with the answers when dealing with the customer, not him. So the aim is to create a local busi-ness feel with a team that is enthused about its opera-tion, with brand, divisional and central support. Staff are encouraged to engage with their customers and local communities. Every year Pendragon holds its 'Top Gun' awards to recognise and reward its highest achievers.He said even a business the size of Pendragon has not helped to change the industry in the last decade. The biggest thing that has changed it is the internet. "I can't think of a single business, or a single person potentially who isn't affected by it. Even people who haven't got any internet access, who've never used a computer are being affected by it. I mean it's huge, absolutely huge in everything."Given the pace at which the industry will have to run to keep pace, Finn could well be proved right in five years time.To find out more about AMi Click hereSource AMi