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The Mercury Cars Guide : July 25th 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009 Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au —11 untrustworthy people on the planet. But North American auto sales guru Tom Stuker wants to change that. He believes new car dealers are their own worst enemies when it comes to reputations. They can join the ranks of the respected occupations by adopting some commonsense sales methods, he says. Stuker, who heads up an international sales education business for car dealerships, Image makeover for car sellers C AR sales people reg- ularly rate up there with politicians as some of the most will share his views at next month’s Australian Automo- tive Dealers’ Association an- nual dealer convention in Melbourne. He is also planning to re- turn to Australia in October to hold a 10-day sales training course for dealers and their employees. ‘‘It’s not just about the reac- tive side of the business but the proactive side, which is how to network a body of customers to maintain and develop a continual growth of sales an income over a period of time,’’ he says. For Stuker, most car selling practices are so ingrained, it is hard to change some of the bad habits. ‘‘It’s the most important purchase after a home but the sales approaches are not good,’’ he says. ‘‘The public deserves sales- people with higher stan- dards.’’ Of all the brands, he says Lexus has managed to suc- ceed by having a respect for its customers based on build- ing relationships. Stuker has been visiting and preaching his views to the Australian car industry for 20 years and he sees some Toyota puts faith in technology of future change for the better locally. ‘‘I find the average Austral- ian dealership and salesper- son to be more ethical and fair dinkum that their contem- poraries in the US,’’ he says. ‘‘I think there is more pro- fessionalism in the average Australian dealership. ‘‘Not necessarily street smarts but professionalism.’’ However, he says bad sales habits are not just restricted to one country. ‘‘It’s the same in theUSas it is in Australia,’’ he says. Stuker says sales people must also cope with better- informed buyers. ‘‘Today’s customer is not necessarily smarter about buying a car but they are better informed,’’ he says. ‘‘In the US 92 per cent of people will go to the internet before theymakea purchase,’’ he says. Among his desires is to make the dealers see their salespeople as assets, not just employees. ‘‘Dealers will have to start training their sales people and investing in them like assets,’’ he says. He also believes recruits should look at car selling as a career, not just a job. Ultimately too, dealerships have to find a way of not just improving the buying experi- ence but the ownership ex- perience through relationship building, he says. ‘‘After all, weare in the customer service business,’’ he says. Stuker has been involved in most dealership activities, from retail sales and manage- ment to sales training and management consulting. He is now considered one of the most dynamic trainers and speakers in the US auto- motive industry. NEIL McDONALD Withamajor switch in priorities, Toyota is prefering to steerawayfrom diesel passenger carsandfocuson hybrids. PaulGovertells uswhy for diesel passenger cars. Instead, Toyota is putting its faith in hybrids E and upcoming high-efficiency unleaded en- gines, although it will continue to dominate the diesel four-wheel drive and workhorse busi- ness with its huge fleet of HiLuxes, HiAces and LandCruisers. ‘‘We are not pursuing diesel in our passenger vehicles. There are no definitive plans for diesel,’’ Toyota Australia head of sales and marketing Dave Buttner said. ‘‘There is no doubt that there are consumers attracted to diesel, but we believe we can achieve our volume and share aspirations on the back of the product plan we have for the figure.’’ Mr Buttner dismisses existing Toyota diesel models on sale in Europe, including the Corolla. VEN though Brand T sells more diesels down under than any other brand — and most of its rivals combined—it says there is no future ‘‘Globally, Toyota believes Hybrid Synergy Drive — the system already used in the Prius and also destined for next year’s locally-made Camry hybrid — is the technology of the future,’’ he said. ‘‘In Europe we’re seeing the emergence of high-efficiency petrol engines for small passen- ger cars. ‘‘Providingwe can bring the Hybrid Synergy Drive products at the right time we believe it will be advantageous over the medium and longer term.’’ Mr Buttner admitted the no-diesel plan ran counter to its existing strength in the four- wheel drive and commercial businesses, but says the two are very separate issues. And, even though none of its workhorses has the latest in diesel particulate filters to reduce emissions and they trail way behind bench- mark diesel passenger cars, he says the technology is improving. Oh what a feeling, it’s a hybrid T HE Corolla hybrid program is a goer. On the same day the Carsguide broke news of a petrol-electric plan for the world’s best selling car the company there was an an- nouncement from Britain of a firm production plan. The petrol-electric Corolla will be built at Toyota’s UK factory at Burnaston, badged as the European-model Auris hatch. Production will begin in 2010. ‘‘Toyota has taken a signifi- cant step forward in ensuring that full hybrids become more accessible to a wider range of customers,’’ says Tadashi Ara- shima, president of Toyota Mo- tor Europe. The European Auris is al- ready fitted with Toyota’s stop- and-start engine system, which reduces CO2 emissions by 17 per cent, but the new model will be a full hybrid with a Prius- style system. CONFIRMED: The Corolla will be badged as an Auris. Toyota Australia is studying the potential of a hybrid Corolla for Australia but is giving no commitment. 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July 18th 2009
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