UK: Distributor has no plans to give up Subaru

By just-auto.com editorial team | 14 October 2003

Birmingham-based International Motors has a five-year rolling contract to distribute Subaru vehicles in the UK, and has no intention of giving it up, marketing director for Subaru and Isuzu Jon Nealon said.

He was speaking at a press launch in response to persistent rumours in the industry that Inchcape is to take over the franchise in the UK. Both IM and Inchcape have denied these reports.

Nealon said "as Inchcape distribute Subaru vehicles in Australia, they may well have expressed an interest to Subaru in Japan about doing the same in other markets but as far as we are concerned nothing changes - we have a five year rolling contract".

Nealon continued, "the UK accounts for 25% of all Subaru's European sales and this year our domestic sales are up nearly 20% over the same period last year. We expect to sell 10,000 vehicles this year and 12 to 13,000 in 2004".

He confirmed that currently 85 Subaru UK dealers had signed new block exemption agreements and 10 further dealers were not signing or being offered new contracts. "We need to appoint 40-50 dealers by the end of next year to reach our optimum target of 130 sales outlets" said Nealon.

Subaru will still continue to target the owner-operator, family business and smaller groups to expand its UK sales and service coverage. Although GM has a 23% shareholding in the Japanese manufacturer, Nealon said " there is no GM influence in UK dealer appointments although of course it would be possible for a GM Vauxhall dealership to take on a Subaru franchise".