Blog: Tony Lewis marks one year as Sales Director

Tony Lewis

Tony Lewis

TONY Lewis has celebrated a year as Sales Director at Nissan Motor (GB). Here, he gives his view on an exciting 12 months in the job…


As Sales Director there’s one indicator I look at above all others to gauge how well our brand is performing.

That’s our private sales performance.

Manufacturers can manage their market share in many other ways using techniques like pre-registration, tactical offers and dealer and daily rentals.

But private sales performance – that’s ordinary sales to real customers – gives a true reflection of where a brand stands in the market place.

Importantly, private sales are long-term and sustainable, don’t damage other areas of the business and deliver profits to us and to the network.

And so here’s the thing that gives me most pride and satisfaction as I consider my first 12 months back at NMGB: Our true private sales performance is up 16% year-on-year.

That’s a phenomenal performance and the highest of any manufacturer. By comparison, the likes of BMW are only up by 5%.

It means that in passenger car retail we’re now in true fifth position and that we now outsell BMW and Mercedes quite significantly by thousands of cars a year.

So now, as we prepare for the new business year, we have to maintain our levels of penetration in private sales and continue to grow it where we can.

Elsewhere we’ll continue to ‘Simplify, Enhance and Reward’ as we aim to consolidate our market position and seek out further growth. That strategy has already paid dividends. The best example I can give is the improvement we’ve seen in terms of customer renewals performance and our enhanced retention and loyalty of our finance customers on PCP and HP.

This was one of my first real targets because it enhances so many performance areas – it gives the dealers good quality low mileage used cars and gives us both a new car sale. It also improves customer satisfaction because the element of surprise and delighted and, of course because you keep customers within their three-year cycle, there’s clearly less chance of in ownership product problems and reduced servicing or warranty costs. It’s just a win-win all round.

The results speak for themselves. Over the latest rolling three months we achieved over 56% renewals rate on PCP. If you look at our NCBS loyalty data we’re now over 60% in the latest measure and as a result our CVS is improving. So it’s ticked all the boxes.

The past year has also seen us make great progress on used cars. The way we’ve organised ourselves at NMGB and how the dealers have responded and organised themselves is again quite remarkable.

Used car sales are up 31% year-to-date, with more than 15,000 vehicles sold and, pleasingly, only 4% of dealers have not bought a car from us this year. It used to be 15%.

The changes we’ve made in used cars – again through the process of Simplfy, Enhance and Reward – mean we’re now selling more cars through more dealers and reaching more people. That’s great news.

Looking forward to the year ahead, the first thing we need to do is to take full advantage of the new NP300 Navara. We used to dominate that market and we want to do so again. The new model’s a game-changer and, as its IPOTY award shows, it sets the new benchmark for its sector.

The challenge is for us to make sure we take it to market properly. Every dealer should be back selling Navara. There are customers in every territory so let’s exploit that to its full extent.

As before, we also need to make more of Pulsar and X-Trail. We’ve all worked hard on that and now we need to maintain focus.

We’re now much more on the ball when it comes to getting our campaigns and targets out on time and we’ve learnt the lessons from our recent winners weekends, which you’ll be seeing more of in 2016. That will help.

In conclusion, my first year back has from my point of view been a great one and luckily it’s backed by some record-breaking results. The year ahead has all the ingredients to be even better.

I’d ask my colleagues across the network to trust in what we’re doing and the changes we’re making and to do all they can to make the most of the opportunities we’re presenting them.

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