Automotive News - Duncan aims to improve service, ads, dealer profits

Discussion in 'MINIs in Other Media' started by Nathan, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. -- Faced with declining sales and a more mature brand that's launching revamped vehicles, new Mini leader David Duncan is making marketing, customer service and increased dealer profitability his priorities.

    Duncan, 48, was named vice president of Mini of the Americas in January. He replaced Jim McDowell, who ran the brand for nearly nine years as sales spiraled upward and Mini appeared to be unstoppable.

    This is Duncan's third stint at Mini. He helped set up the dealer network in 2001, left to work for parent company BMW, returned to run product strategy in 2009 and sales and aftersales in 2010 and was vice president of BMW of North America's western region before taking the helm at Mini.

    Duncan has transformed the office that was stuffed with the Mini toys, memorabilia, Hawaiian shirts and posters so loved by the vivacious McDowell into a sanitized space with only a few knickknacks and a bare desktop. Aside from not wearing a tie, Duncan resembles the polished BMW executives on the other side of the floor.

    He laughs at the comparison and swears he didn't clean the office because of the interview. He exudes a calm managerial presence and makes the occasional humorous quip.

    David Duncan
    Age: 48
    Title: Vice president, Mini of the Americas

    Previous jobs
    - April-Dec. 2013: VP, BMW of North America, western region
    - Oct. 2010-March 2013: Manager, Mini USA, sales & aftersales
    - Nov. 2009-Sept. 2010: Manager, Mini USA, product strategy
    - Jan. 2006-Nov. 2009: Manager of sales & marketing, BMW of North America, eastern region
    - Jan. 2004-Dec. 2005: Manager of center development, BMW of North America, eastern region
    - May 2001-Dec. 2003: Manager of national dealer development, Mini USA
    - Oct. 1998-May 2001: Consultant and manager of retail operations training, BMW Motorcycles
    - Jan. 1989-Sept. 1998: Various management positions, Nissan Motor Co.

    4 key areas

    Duncan is revamping the business end in four areas:

    1. Improving customer service and giving dealers money to surprise buyers with perks.

    2. Boosting dealer profitability with a plan to offer higher margins on the more expensive models.

    3. Squeezing more out of marketing by changing Mini's dealer co-op program, rolling 42 regional programs into one national setup.

    4. Improving the back-end business with discounts for cars out of service. Used and certified programs also will be tweaked.

    Most of the new programs are being worked out for launch in January.

    On the customer service end, Mini now has six dedicated employees who field customer calls at the group center in Ohio. Previously, Mini calls were handled by the 36 people who also took care of BMW and answered problems by reading from script, said Duncan. The dedicated employees can answer Mini questions more authoritatively. The change was made in July.

    Customer perks

    In July, dealers were given a budget based on sales for perks that don't need corporate approval. "We wanted to give them a budget that goes beyond just fixing the car," Duncan said.

    Duncan wouldn't give details, but one of the larger Mini dealers said he had a $3,000 budget through December.

    Mini has 121 U.S. dealers and will add about 15 in the coming years, Duncan said.

    Stephen Parrett, service manager of Mini of Fairfield County in Darien, Conn., said his store has given its Mini owners treats such as dinners, tickets to sporting events and limousine rides to the airport for those on vacation. Parrett calls such perks "delivering the wow factor."
     
  2. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    Well now we know who is at fault for making MINI stale.
     
  3. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    Amen Dave !! This guy definitely seems like the perfect person to make MINI's bland and soulless.
     
  4. ZippyNH

    ZippyNH Well-Known Member

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    You mean more German and less quirkey?
    Less the philosophy of make a good product and the profits will follow and more "customers are like lemmings....milk them" like a bad Dilbert clip from the Sunday comics?
    First the quirkyness of the cars went away....looks like the same may happen with the brand in general....
    Shame...
    When I ordered in 2004 you had too seek out mini info...
    Result was buyers were passionate, and it made the mini seem special... Undiscovered, like a seacret pleasure....
    Now my daily paper is filled with advertising for mini, its on the radio, even an occasional billboard......just seems so in my face...feels less special...and the few unique advertising and mini events that were still quirky...I fear will be gone cause their impacts on profitbilty is not easily measured....
    I really wanted to want the new 5 door as the next family car....
    But the mystique of the brand might be waning...in my mind at least...
     
  5. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Jim McDowell's personality suited MINI quite well. Now it's a suit...

    It shows.
     
  6. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    In a ugly euro suit and a scarf.:lol:
     
  7. minirab

    minirab Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to say but I own my second and last MINI.
     
  8. CHKMINI

    CHKMINI Club Coordinator
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    I'm on my fourth and there will be more. I'm hooked on the brand and more so the MINI Community. How many days to the Dragon??
     
  9. minirab

    minirab Well-Known Member

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    Need to clarify, I only buy new and I will NEVER buy a fing56 so I guess

    I'll stick with my R58 til it dies. And that is not a problem.:biggrin5:
     
  10. Zillon

    Zillon Well-Known Member

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    Gross.

    Well, there goes my desire to ever work for Mini USA. Sterilizing the workplace? Lame.

    Guess we'll see if anything good comes of this.
     

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