May 24, 2022

Alice-in-chains

Automotive forever

Guy Pigounakis, MG Commercial Director

Guy Pigounakis, MG Commercial Director

MG Motor is in sophisticated talks with supplier teams to fill critically essential city details in its community. Commercial director Male Pigounakis spells out his strategies for the upcoming.


The MG Motor headquarters is in fashionable Marylebone reverse the five-star Landmark hotel. On the floor flooring is the WLMG dealership showcasing the MG types of today. Also on screen are two legacy products, 1 a WA sports activities saloon which was launched in 1938 following the London Motor display and created until eventually 1939 and the outbreak of the second entire world war. Just 369 of them have been created. It was at the time the premier MG constructed at Abingdon. Tracing its heritage again to 1924, MG bills itself as an iconic British motoring brand name, manufacturing sporty, price-for-revenue vehicles.

Found in the HQ making is the MG Advanced Design Centre, which spearheads the design and style side of items globally. Its most latest generation is the thought Maze EV compact which is aimed at a young audience and combines gaming styling cues to inject ‘excitement, experience and play’ into EVs. It also delivered the Cyberster concept all-electrical athletics auto discovered just before the Shanghai Motor Exhibit last yr. ‘Designed in London’ has a cachet that appeals to a wide viewers and is an significant element of the MG information in export markets.

We are below to meet Guy Pigounakis, industrial director at MG Motor in the Uk. He knows the brand name inside out. The earliest reference we have for him in Motor Trader is in the mid-1990s when he was with an earlier incarnation of the brand MG Rover. Fast ahead to December 2020 and he joined MG Motor as professional director, having duty for income, aftersales and community advancement. He did a long stint as product sales director at Hyundai where by he helped supply the effectively-chronicled surge in sales of the Korean brand name in the British isles. An most recently he was head of operations at Richmond Motor Team. Working with a dealer group has presented him a clearer comprehension of what tends to make for productive retailing.

At the time of his appointment, he claimed returning to MG was “a bit of a homecoming” and he needed to unlock the “amazing sum of potential” for the team. The community has grown with a lengthy succession of seller appointments around the earlier handful of several years. Macklin, Chorley Team, RRG, Holdcroft, HSH Motor Group, Wilsons, Perrys and Waylands all represent the brand.

MG Motor at the moment has 150 dealers on its textbooks and has a focus on of developing an ideal community of 165. The spread of dealers is huge, beginning with owner-motorists captivated by the very low expenditure calls for and mild criteria contact, which so frequently characterises a manufacturer that is growing fast from a minimal foundation and needs actual physical websites to mature product sales.

Now that it has 150 sellers on its publications it faces a new challenge: how to fill the open up points in metropolitan areas. Urban shops current their very own troubles. City dealerships, regardless of sizing, are highly-priced to run. Enterprise costs are increased, labour is additional high-priced. There are certain difficulties, like parking for case in point. Building the utilised vehicle organization is much more hard simply because you have no space to screen them. And electric vehicles existing their possess problems for the upcoming, with fewer revenues from servicing.

MG Motor is aiming to recruit sellers for metropolitan spots as it ramps up product sales of electric motor vehicles. Pigounakis stated the model is in “advanced negotiations” with groups to fill open up factors in conurbations that bring in sturdy need for electric powered cars, which element strongly in its line-up.

“Most of the current market options we have are in the significant metropolitan parts, London currently being foremost among them. We have candidates we are in progress negotiations with. I would say 80% are specific to arrive off. I can very easily see a state of affairs by the conclude of this calendar year wherever our franchise program has been absolutely delivered,” he explained.

But to succeed in towns with EVs, Pigounakis said vehicle brand names will have to get far better at sharing. Just one way forward is to multi-franchise showrooms with other brands sharing as a lot of again business office capabilities as doable, which include generic charging details.

With 150 dealers on board, the model is ramping up sales. MG marketed 13,838 vehicles in the initial quarter in contrast with 6,161 in Q1 2021. Very last yr it bought 30,600 autos and is aiming for between 51,000 and 52,000 this calendar year. Like all other people it has been hit by the microchip and other parts shortages but it has not suffered as badly as some. That explained, it could have offered hundreds additional vehicles previous 12 months without the provide constraints. In March it stopped using orders for ICE autos due to the fact of the surge of orders taken by dealers.

 

Light-weight contact specifications

MG Motor prides by itself on having a light-weight contact when it arrives to criteria. Lesser sellers require to have bare minimum standards of staffing, and charging factors.

“If you search at the specifications and facility necessities we have, to be completely honest, any business would think about entry into the industry. It’s not like we’re stating you have acquired to have Scandinavian archway that costs £25,000.”

Pigounakis argues there are manufacturers that have taken expectations to “absolute extremes” and MG is not a single of them.

“You seem at our criteria and all we’re hoping to do is accomplish an exceptionally minimal value place financial commitment for the sellers so they can maximise the return, they get on it and produce an setting for our consumers, which frankly is commensurate with their anticipations.”

That stated, there are teams that are investing closely in the brand as they glimpse at the product or service pipeline a long time down the line.

“People are deciding upon to devote at a substantially greater amount than we’re essentially asking them to. We’re now speaking to and appointing what I would explain as Leading League vendor associates.”

One particular such is Waylands in Oxford, which is headed up by John O Hanlon, winner of Motor Trader’s Superb Achievement Award in 2021. O’Hanlon was 1 of the early promoters of electric powered with the NFDA Electrical Auto Approved scheme, which offers education to dealer staff on how to talk with consumers on EVs in all factors of the small business.

According to Pigounakis Waylands has had a “staggeringly good” commence performing the Oxford territory. Oxford is the fantastic pitch for EVs. The metropolis is keen to boost electrical vehicles to satisfy carbon emission reduction targets. Its Air High quality Action Plan and Very low Emission Tactic is searching to offer you decreased or preferential parking for lower emission autos and advertise the advancement of minimal and zero emission car or truck club schemes in the city. Other metropolitan areas have comparable plans.

The hottest Nationwide Franchised Dealer Mindset Survey provides a snapshot of in which the brand name is now when it will come to seller benchmarks. MG is down below ordinary for dealer requirements and the development is far more adverse than six months in the past. Are more compact sellers emotion a small remaining out?

Pigounakis claimed it was a issue of timing. MG employed its current conference to depth a additional formalised method to the benchmarks it demands and as dealers awaited the specifics this brought about some nervousness in the community. Pigounakis argues that any potential issues have been allayed at the meeting.

“The sellers have been sitting there thinking ‘They are likely to run up the standards’, none of which from a standard vendor associate is a welcome conversation.

“We prepared to have our meeting in January to place all these concerns to a single facet. But mainly because of Covid we delayed it and held it on 23 March.

“We took them through the expectations in a very little bit of detail. We reported is we have not truly launched any new standards. What we have done is consolidate them and rewrite them because they’ve been issued on a piece of foundation, in excess of four, 5, even 10 many years.

“So all we have performed is consolidate the current expectations and make them much more available and more applicable nowadays.

“We now want persons to standardise their home furniture as opposed to owning whichever they want. Up till really not long ago, as extended as showroom household furniture was uniform and tidy, that was great. We’re now indicating we’d really like you, when you substitute your furnishings, to substitute it with this. And essentially this is the most inexpensive and available home furniture you are going to come across in retail in the United kingdom now.

“Within a 7 days of announcing that at our conference, almost certainly a third of our dealers have placed orders to switch their entire showroom furniture with the new things irrespective of us not even asking them to do that.”

He also pointed out that in the lead-up to the conference sellers were being worried around any potential introduction of the agency product. Pigounakis did not rule it out endlessly but for now it is surely not on the playing cards.

“Today we have no strategies to go down that route. I believe manufacturers have massively overestimated their means at the retail stage.”

Pigounakis mentioned he learnt a ton about retail in his two and 50 percent yrs with Richmond Motor Group – a tenure he liked. Pigounakis argues that carmakers do not have a complete grasp on what it takes to draw in prospects and glance right after them. “I never consider which is something manufacturers have fully grasped.

“And similarly whilst we’re in this desire pull environment it is straightforward to search at issues like company versions. At some stage it will go into offer drive and then that full dynamic will modify,” he said.

MG Motor has crafted a steady status for giving value for dollars automobiles. On the new auto aspect, it presently delivers 6 styles in the United kingdom like three plug-in autos – the MG ZS EV, the MG5 EV and MG HS plug-in hybrid. They all get a seven-yr warranty as normal.

Pigounakis argues that it is the recent stock and long term types that are attracting the greater supplier groups.

“You won’t get the likes of Bristol Avenue, RRG investing in our brands if they never imagine this is a long-time period sustainable manufacturer to spend in. You know, our autos nowadays are extraordinarily very good price for money. They’re nicely designed, the brand is fantastic.”

Pigounakis does not go into depth for the ID3-sized all electric car to be introduced in September. Billed as the MG4 – despite the fact that the title has not been verified – it is a huge offer for the brand.

“I genuinely believe this automobile will be a stake in the ground that tells the earth we’re constructing vehicles that are as technologically highly developed as any company in the marketing put right now.”

There is also a heavily facelifted MG5 coming in November, and this will be adopted by the MG Electrical sports car. MG unveiled shots of the Cyberster idea automobile before the Shanghai Motor Present past yr. It was designed by the staff at the MG Highly developed Design Centre in Marylebone and is a two-doorway, two-seater athletics auto, drawing styling cues from the basic MGB Roadster.

It is these items that will improve the brand and its sales in coming a long time. But, all over again, for that MG requirements a robust dealer community.

“If you look at our registration operate amount, we are tracking towards 52,000 cars and trucks this year, which when you observe that again from a few or 4 several years back is just intellect-boggling really,” he reported.

“We’ve now bought really superior profile sellers in superb services and significant profile areas that are utilised to offering hundreds of vehicles a yr as an alternative of tens and twenties across a 12 months.”

Pigounakis claimed that as a smaller model it has to have representation in essential locations or else drop revenue. If BMW, for case in point, has an open point it will nonetheless offer autos in the area simply because of the strong desire for the model. For MG it is a distinct story. No representation in a supplied region translates into no or reduced product sales. Place representation in and it generates desire and product sales.

“If you are a challenger brand name and you have received a massive open up position, you just don’t offer nearly anything. The upside of that is when we do make an appointment, each and every motor vehicle we promote is incremental,” he mentioned.