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Stephen Collins

HONDA Australia is embracing multi-franchising as a key to ensuring dealer profitability and strength for the future.

According to Honda Australia managing director, Stephen Collins, Honda has “less that half a dozen” stand-alone dealers and while they are important to the network, he said multi-franchising “is becoming the way of the world”.

“Mums and dads buying dealerships represents huge money,” he told GoAutoNews Premium. “For us, our strategy is more a future of having the right mix of public companies versus family companies.

“We have 106 dealers and there are no plans at all to expand the dealer count.”

However, he said he saw one open point in Sydney that would provide an opportunity for Honda but said that “we have no current plans to fill” that space.

He also said Honda was constantly re-evaluating its marketing and sales structures and admitted it had seriously considered a presence in shopping centres. He said there were, however, no current plans to establish these shops.

Mr Collins said the most important goal was to increase the profitability of dealers.

“The more we can do that, the stronger the network gets,” he said.

“Number one for us at the moment is more throughput at dealers and to allow them to grow.”

A major change in Honda dealerships has been the sale in Perth of long-standing brand franchisee Brian Gardner Motors group which has sold its Honda North dealership.

The large showroom and service centre on Perth’s busy northern suburbs car strip on Scarborough Beach Road in Osborne Park sits alongside AHG’s recently rebuilt Osborne Park Mazda and opposite AHG’s Subaru and Volkswagen dealerships.

Honda North has been sold to the Allen Group (Bob Allen and Harold Schoolland) which also owns the Prestige Honda dealership in Melville in Perth’s southern suburbs. The price was not disclosed but it is believed to include the land.

The sale of Honda North represents the end of the Gardner family’s involvement in car retailing in WA, which started in the 1960s, and follows the sale of the flagship Brian Gardner Motors Holden and Suzuki dealership in Cannington to the Regents Group. The sales included the Albany Highway property.

Perth’s third Honda franchise is in Victoria Park at Burswood Honda that is owned by DVG Automotive, part of Japan’s IDOM corporation.

By Neil Dowling