Dealerships, Free Access Articles ,

WITH the release of its new 1500 4×4 light-duty pick-up truck, Ram Trucks Australia is expanding its 36-strong dealer network to accommodate for the new model which is expected to make up 85 per cent of the brand’s total sales volume.

Previously offering the 2500/3500 heavy-duty pick-up pair, the addition of the 1500, which is expected to attract more metropolitan and family buyers, will result in the rollout of four more dealerships before the end of the year.

Speaking to GoAutoNews Premium at the launch of the 1500, Ram Trucks Australia general manager Alex Stewart said the brand was aiming to stretch its dealer footprint to areas that have previously not been covered.

“(We are at) 36 dealers nationally, with four more in the pipeline by the end of the year,” he said.

“(The new dealerships) are in the open points. There’ll be one up in Darwin, which is currently open, there’ll be another one, possibly two, in Western Australia, and there’ll be another most likely in New South Wales.”

RAM 1500

Open points are areas where Ram has not previously had a presence.

The 1500 is not only expected to make up the majority of sales for the brand but will also change the demographic of buyer compared to the more niche 2500/3500.

Ram hopes the 1500 will add 2100 sales in 2019, up to 4500 in 2020, and while the 2500/3500 attracted predominantly rural and regional buyers, the brand is anticipating roughly 60 per cent of 1500 customers to come from metropolitan areas.

Mr Stewart said the anticipated increase in sales volume would not necessary correlate to a large increase in dealership numbers.

“It’s a balancing act of having sufficient coverage and at the same time maintaining dealer profitability in respect to the volume of vehicles you are selling, so I think that is a parallel growing aspect of the business where as your volume starts to increase and you’re penetrating into a wider part of the market, then you have your dealer network ready to slip in and support that growth in the business,” he said.

RAM 1500

“At the moment the plans are to grow beyond that as we grow our volume.”

He said that Ram has not thought about what would be its maximum number of dealers, but rather it would concentrate primarily on offering buyers the best customer support available.

When asked if the brand has a cap on its dealership numbers, Mr Stewart said: “I don’t think that’s really a thought process that we put in to what the cap is.

“You’ve got to keep a bit of an open mind as once we get to 40 (dealerships), do we need to move beyond that to 42, 44, 46? And is that going to be in open points that are still in existence, or is it going to be a realignment of existing areas of dealers?

Those are things you continue to look at as your volume starts to grow and you start to have a better understanding of what your penetration is in a particular market.

But then the opportunity also is to look at the expansion of the dealer network to include your 2S dealers (2S meaning service and spare parts, while 3S is sales, service and spare parts).So there are lots of ways and means of expanding your dealer network, depending on how you want to support and suit your business.”

By Robbie Wallis