MG’s Matthew Cheyne outlines the company’s SME small fleet company car strategy based on personal service and good value
MG. Perhaps not the first choice on your company car list.
But the Chinese-owned brand is aiming to get more SME business owners to consider the brand for their company car small fleet.
Matthew Cheyne is the company’s head of sales & marketing, and while he realises brand recognition is not where he’d like it to be, small businesses and SME small fleets are absolutely in his sights as he plans out MG’s growth over the next three to five years.
The company is making impressive progress, from a low start it has to be said. But MG new car car registrations increased almost 33% from 2015 (3,152) to 2016 (4,192) and Matthew says the brand is on its way to breaking 5,000 new car registrations by the end of 2017.
This is thanks to continued penetration of the MG3 and MG GS, as well as the launch of its all-new compact SUV the XS – first shown at the London Motor Show earlier this year.
So what is the MG small fleet proposition for SMEs, I asked Matthew?
“There are three areas. The first is the dealer network which is becoming more mature and attracting better quality dealers.
“Secondly we have new products and relevant products – SUVs. We want to be active in the most interesting markets and we are committed to petrol and low to zero emission products.” (You won’t find a diesel in the MG line-up for instance – although you’ll have to wait until next year for the first MG XS zero emission electric car.)
“And third, if we have above, we will appeal to local businesses.
What can we expect from MG?
- A third vehicle is launching in autumn this year – a smaller SUV. Previewed at the London Motor Show earlier this year, it will be known as the MG XS. “Again it follows our strategy of a great vehicle with good spec and more affordability,” says Matthew.
- 2018 MG3 supermini gets a facelift
- 2018 MG XS EV arrives
- 2018 onwards – more electrification for MG. “There will be either an EV or PHEV model in all ranges. This is the exciting thing for me, because we are laying the foundation for what is coming in the next 18 months for when the new products come along. EV technology is already on sale from our parent company in China, don’t forget,” enthuses Matthew.
“I believe we will really appeal to the SME business car sector, to those companies which don’t have a company car fleet policy but have a relationship with a dealer. They need to be looked after – they are the retail/fleet crossover people.
“And as we are about to go into the second stage of our sales growth we want to look after our new customers as we grow.
“We’re not governed by getting to a figure – we have aspirations and objectives, but we are going to get there in a measured way. So we have a structure for SMEs that we can deliver through the network, which currently sits at 75 dealers, but we plan to have 90 by the end of 2017, and 100 in 2018.”
So why should an SME business go to MG?
While all this is very laudable, I’m still none the wiser as to why SMEs should take their company car business to MG in the first place.
“First it’s the quality of the service – we’ll maintain that personal relationship with dealer. And SMEs can have direct access to the manufacturer for special terms that you wouldn’t ordinarily get because you’re not of a decent size to get a discount.
“Second, if you look at direct competitors we are good on value for money; also the cars are modern, and of excellent quality.
“So SME small fleets get the best of both worlds – personal attention and better value cars.”
It strikes me that MG still needs to get the small business owner or SME director through the door in the first place. No easy thing with such little brand recognition for MG as a potential company car.
“We do everything in partnership with dealer network,” explains Matthew. “I agree, one of the stumbling blocks is getting that message across that MG is back for business buyers.
“However, our local business programme is about our local dealer being active within the local business community – we use our local dealers to spread awareness and then invite customers into the MG dealership.
“It’s about getting us and our vehicles in front of people. People don’t know enough about us to get on their consideration list.
Providing finance for small businesses to drive an MG
Once inside an MG dealer, customers have the choice of using personal finance, such as personal contract purchase (PCP) or hire purchase – current offers at the time of writing include 0% interest and from £169 a month on a PCP for the MG GS – with the finance from MG Financial Services, underwritten by GMAC.
Alternatively there is business contract hire available which is provided through a panel of leasing brokers, such as in our Leasing Broker Directory, operating under the MG Fleet Sales banner.
“Being able to shop around for the best car leasing rates is part of the flexibility we offer small businesses and SMEs. We can match the best lease rates depending on the business requirements of the SME,” explains Matthew.
Finally, I asked Matthew to define five key aspects why SMEs should be attracted to the MG for their business cars. This is his list.
5 reasons why SMEs should consider MG
- Affordability. So there’s lower capital cost, allied with better specification
- From a user chooser company car aspect, you get better spec and lower BIK company car tax
- Simplicity and practicality of our product – these are modern vehicles that no one is going to be embarrassed to drive with its MG heritage even if we are going in a different direction from the past: no more V8s as we head towards low and zero emission MG vehicles
- Flexible as a company – we can adapt to what the customer needs
- Customer focus, which makes us stand out above competitors.
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