Honda, an international car manufacturer, operate a very outdated marketing structure to sell theirs cars. They follow the American model of sending demonstration modest to the dealers and then promoting the brand from from the top. A top agency produces the headline TV adverts, press media and social digital etc.
This marketing model is not dissimilar to how other Japanese manufacturers like Sharp and Cannon roll out through a dealer/distributor network in USA.
The customer experience starts of well enough. Top end brand promotion via TV, press, F1 and radio is world class. Desire to own a Honda is high but when a prospective buyer arrives at the showroom the experience and brand value drops off a cliff.
The dealers to operate on a respond as needed basis with cars parked where they feel nosed in and often not presented as they as a top brand or anything special. An old car trade expression is to refer to a car as a unit. A product mustn’t be presented this way ideally.
Staff training is not evident and a customer experience journey is not in place.
Honda do sell cars and at premium price- they are never cheap – so Honda maybe happy back at the factory – Missed opportunities. Cars sell partly because they still have a following from the 1980’s when Honda earned a reputation as a good quality car. The following is an older clientele, which in some ways a good thing, as the over 60’s tend to have equity and access to cash. And s memory of Honda of old. They are putting aside the poor sales process.
How can the Honda brand do better?
They need to connect the top line brand advertising and spear all the way through to the showroom visit. Connect with a follow up to all visitors with a personal call and electronic contact. And along the journey study how the brand is presented, make sure Honda is presented in an informative educated way- train the showroom staff. Staff really need to know how the car was designed, why it was designed, where and what this means to the prospective new customer. Appeal to a wider age range.
On a showroom visit I discovered the sales person knew little about the car the showroom was not a nice place to be, I wanted to leave – which left me cold. I bought a BMW. (Who were marginally better!).