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Nissan and Renault ARM their dealers with new training programme

Nissan and Renault have announced their intention to ensure all 1300 of their dealer managers are fully qualified in automotive retail management by 2007. Launched in July 2004, the new Automotive Retail Management Standards (ARMS) were developed by Automotive Skills, with a brand new Certificate and Diploma in Automotive Retail Management jointly awarded by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) and the Chartered Management Institute.

Confirmed David Greenway, Manager Network Training for Renault UK and Nissan GB: "Over the five years since Nissan and Renault formed an alliance, both companies have delivered remarkable results in an increasingly challenging industry. Within the UK both companies have committed themselves to be leaders and innovators in the automotive industry. Embracing ARMS is part of that strategy."

Over the last two years, both companies have introduced comprehensive development programmes for their customer facing staff. These development programmes entail a comprehensive training needs analysis (TNA) being carried out on all Sales Executives and Service Advisors, resulting in individual development plans.

Greenway states: "Following on from the success of our customer facing programmes we are now launching a new management development programme involving all managers employed through our networks. This will offer dealer managers a full curriculum of training courses covering all aspects of the management skills required in today’s automotive retail industry."

Working with industry training experts, RTS Consultants, Renault and Nissan have completely redesigned their management training and will be using innovative technology to carry out training needs analysis for the networks’ 1,300 managers. Lesley Jefferson, RTS learning and development specialist comments: "We see it as our role to encourage and support managers as they work towards the new Certificate and Diploma. We want to ensure the experience will benefit dealers through improved business results whilst recognising individual efforts and increasing job satisfaction."

The new training courses have been designed to reflect the cultures and business practices expected by both companies, but in addition have been directly linked to ARMS. As well as undertaking relevant training courses and self-study guides managers will be expected to achieve the new Certificate and Diploma in Automotive Retail Management, awarded jointly by IMI and CMI. Full support will be given to managers from the network training department that will include 1-1 coaching, regular feedback, intranet based support and access to e-learning.

The programme will be launched simultaneously to dealers from both networks in November and will commence with combined launch and TNA events run by RTS. Following these events, participants will begin attending training programmes that have been identified through the TNA and commence their ARMS assignments.

Greenway concludes: "We see this programme as fundamental to the continued and sustained success of our networks. In a highly competitive industry such as ours, and post Block Exemption, we can no longer just offer high quality cars. First and foremost we must offer exemplary service to our customers and this has to be delivered by every one of our dealer staff. In addition, to ensure our dealers achieve maximum profitability they will require true leaders running their businesses efficiently and effectively. The training that we offer will provide the skills and knowledge to achieve these requirements and the qualifications achieved will highlight the high standards we set."