PARIS - Renault plans to cut the number of independent dealers in its main European markets.
'In the UK we plan to raise our market share from 7.5 percent to over 8 percent and to simultaneously go below 200 dealers,' said Philippe Gamba, Renault sales manager for Europe.
Gamba also wants Renault's agents, or 'sub-dealers' in Europe to specialize more. They should focus on repairs, body work or sales, rather than be generalists, he said.
Jacques Rivoal, who manages Renault's 400 independent dealers in France, says Renault has been restructuring the French network since 1992. 'But these changes have been small,' he said. 'Now they will accelerate.'
Renault has already made significant changes in other markets. It has cut the number of independent dealers in Italy from 370 to 270 since 1992. Spanish dealers have been cut from 296 to 205 in the same period.
In Germany, however, the reduction has been small: from 715 to 680. 'There is a great conservatism in German distribution,' said Gamba.
Renault also plans to create new subsidiaries to control its factory-owned dealers in France, Germany and Spain.
The 77 French factory-owned dealers will be grouped under Renault France Automobiles beginning 1 July. Those dealers account for 26 percent of French sales and employ 10,000 staff.