Citroen MD appoints dealer performance manager and seeks new partners

Friday, September 21, 2018

Citroen managing director Karl Howkins has taken on a network performance manager and is looking for new dealer group partners, but told Motor Trader he’s working to improve relations with existing dealers.

Howkins described Citroen’s most recent NFDA dealer attitude survey performance as “absolutely horrendous.”


He said; “We’ve failed on being too complex. We’re trying to get back to basics. I want dealers to feel good.”

Howkins said the dealer performance manager is joining Citroen next month and will work with ‘10 to 12’ under performing outlets. Some departures are expected from the current 158-strong network.

“We’re going to give them a chance, to be blunt,” said Howkins.

“The bottom 10 per cent of the network, whatever we do we aren’t going to bring them back to life. We don’t want to work with them and they don’t want to work with us,” said Howkins, adding that he wanted any separation process to be amicable, and that dealers with less severe performance issues would be actively helped.

Howkins said channels of communication between the car maker and its dealers were being simplified. A one day induction courses for new staff who now meet senior Citroen UK managers including Howkins, was an example of the change he wanted to see.

Howkins said that some face-to-face dealer feedback had been productive but not always comfortable and that some concerns were being taken on board.

He and Citroen networks and quality director David Marsh confirmed that the company was in discussion with around 10 dealer groups that currently didn’t hold Citroen franchises, wanted to bring ‘fresh ideas’ into the network, and had held an investor day in Paris as part of this process.