► UK to get 23 sales and service agencies
► Reserve now, order next spring, deliveries next autumn
► Global support network for adventures, aid agencies and Outback farmers
Cutting-edge digital meets old-school rural friendliness in the sales and customer care strategy newly outlined by Ineos Automotive. Customers can choose the way of buying the company’s first car, the Grenadier, that suits them best – whether that’s a purely online experience at one extreme, or a more traditional test drive and handshake with a salesperson.
Rather than franchised dealers, Ineos will use agencies – a different type of business contract that gives Ineos more scope to move demo cars and stock from one location to another. The first global wave of around 200 agencies will include 23 in the UK, plus 14 service-only locations in the UK. They will open over the next few months, as reservations come in (available from 1 October to potential customers who have already registered with Ineos, and from 14 October for everyone else), followed by firm orders next spring, with the first UK deliveries expected in the fourth quarter of 2022. Sales in the USA will follow in 2023.
Gary Pearson, Ineos Automotive’s UK sales chief, said the aim was to ensure that customers shouldn’t be more than around 45 minutes’ drive from a physical location. ‘In some very rural parts of the UK, for example, we will partner with companies whose franchises are agricultural franchises – JCB, Massey Ferguson, those kind of franchises. They are next to auction centres and livestock centres. Their neighbours are NFU regional offices, that kind of thing. Because that is where the customers go and they live and they work.
‘From a test drive and experiencing the vehicle point of view, the last thing we want is for someone who lives in a rural area to drive an hour to an urban location and test drive a Grenadier around traffic lights and a roundabout, while we talk to them about its rugged off-road ability. The place they need to experience it is the place they’re going to use it.’
There are also plans for six 4x4 centres around the UK, where new Grenadiers will be on display and used 4x4s from various brands would be available. ‘With a partner we will run a site where the Grenadier is the star of the show, but the overall site will be a 4x4 destination, and used cars will be a fixture, and there will be other 4x4 brands, which gives customers more reasons to come to the site,’ said Pearson.
Read more about the Ineos Grenadier
The 14 service-only locations are being hand-picked by Ineos from the network of Bosch Car Service sites. Bosch had been working with Ineos for three years on developing an aftersales strategy. It won’t look the same in every country – for instance, in Africa some BMW dealers will be involved – but will ensure that wherever a vehicle is purchased, and wherever a journey begins, expert help will always be available.
In the UK, the Grenadier will come with a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. Detailed pricing has yet to be announced, but is expected to start at around £40k for the most basic version, the two-seat commercial. There will also initially be a five-seat commercial and a five-seat station wagon, all with a choice of 3.0-litre petrol or diesel BMW engine.
‘We really want a price list that is simple and sits on one page,’ said Pearson, ‘and a configurator that is very easy to navigate. We plan to have a very small number of trim levels.’
Once production at the factory in France gets up to speed, Ineos expects to sell 6000 Grenadiers a year in the UK. ‘We estimate that the 6000 will be skewed to commercial vehicles, which is representative of the events we’ve been to throughout the summer.’