Daihatsu wants to improve its image

A new model every year; importer starts dealer certification

Toenisvorst. Daihatsu Deutschland GmbH wants to improve its image as a seller of inexpensive small automobiles and become generally better known as a brand.

The importer hopes to do that through an advertising campaign and with a range of new models. Hiroaki Iwabe, who is responsible for the overseas business at the Daihatsu Motor Company, announced at the celebration of the German sales organization's 25th anniversary that German dealers in the future will need to be more present and more engaged.

In a move aimed at rectifying shortcomings in the distribution network, the company is starting a certification program, said Ralf Cremer, the new division manager for dealer contacts and customer services. Ten to 15 selected sales partners will take part in the project's first phase. Cremer plans to certify all German dealers by the end of 2006.

At the same time the German sales organization will be expanded. The plan is that by the end of 2004 at least 300 dealers will be selling the Daihatsu model range. By the end of 2006 the number is expected to grow to 400. By comparison: last year the number of sales partners was reduced from 330 to 250.

The sales target for the current year is about 10,000 vehicles, up 9 percent from 8,856 units in 2003. To reach that target the model range will be renewed step by step. Daihatsu, which is 51-percent owned by Japan's Toyota, hopes to launch a new model every year. The new Sirion will debut in the spring of 2005. Daihatsu hopes the compact limousine will sell better than the Cuore, which has been its best seller up to now. Last year 5,574 German customers bought the car. Only 1,274 Sirions were sold.

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