13 October 1995

French retail launch

GREATER security, permanency and expertise can be offered to farmers through manufacturer-owned tractor and machinery retail centres in certain areas, says Renault Agriculture.

Based on the success of its network of Renault-owned retail outlets in France, which has resulted in the manufacturer becoming a major agricultural machinery distributor, the concept is now being extended across Europe – including the UK.

At least five such Renault centres are planned for the home market, and they will act not only as retail sales and service centres but also as umbrella organisations for a larger number of small franchised dealerships. Renault says the centres will provide a ready source of spares for the smaller dealership, and the opportunity to clinch a deal for a specific tractor or piece of tackle which the dealer cannot afford to stock.

Speaking at the opening of the first of these new retail centres at York, Bruno Morange, president and director general of Renault Agriculture, said the new concept offered greater security to customers because the branch could not go bankrupt.

It also offered greater permanency because the branch could not suffer the possible poor health and succession problems of the average dealership.

And it offered greater expertise due to a company policy of annually investing the equivalent of 5% of the earnings of salesmen and mechanics in training.

He stressed the new centres would operate as a family business within a big company. The key to the success of the concept was to treat the centre as the managers business. "I will not interfere in the managers decisions because it is his business," he insisted.

The centres were not intended as "Big Brother" organisations. Every effort would be made to forge good relationships with local franchised dealers.

"We want these centres to be both an example and a back-up point for other dealers, for parts availability and for tractor availability," he stressed.

Centre manager, Geoff Ashdown, said the UK agricultural machinery market was the third largest in Europe, and that Renault was determined to be a major participant in that market.