The importance of being based in Milton Keynes

Dale Wyatt talks to All Things Business about a new partnership, Ant & Dec and the rise of electric cars

How important is it being based in Milton Keynes, and what advice would you give to other large employers that are considering Milton Keynes as their home?

Suzuki GB PLC moved to Milton Keynes in 2005, it’s a very important area for the industry and very much the UK’s central Automotive hub. As far as logistics are concerned, being based here allows us to serve our dealer networks much better than before across our Car, Motorcycle, ATV and Marine products. Our head office also incorporates a full training facility, again in a central point for our nationwide dealer network.

The recent announcement with Toyota is really positive. What excites you the most about this partnership?

This announcement is very positive and important news for Suzuki as a global brand. Toyota has over two decades of experience in Hybrid technology and we look forward to announcing our two plug-in hybrid models later next year. These will incorporate Toyota technology, badged as Suzuki’s and will be additional cars in our UK range. An important point is that Suzuki does already have its own hybrid technology with further developments to be announced next year.

In 2017, you went on record saying that Suzuki aims to sell 50% more fleet cars by 2020, how is that going?

Yes, this has been achieved already thanks to the appointment of a Head of Fleet operations and full office based and Regional Business teams. Suzuki offers a full range of ‘Fit for Fleet’ cars, particularly with our Swift, Vitara and S-Cross models. Our range offers very high standard specification, high technology petrol engines with low CO2 emissions and the all-important strong residual value after three years. We aim to develop this further in the near future and will focus on smaller local businesses to help our dealer network.

Following the successful partnership with Ant & Dec, have you got any other partnerships in the pipeline that you can share with us?

We now have a major partnership with Take That who have already featured in our major TV advert campaigns since January. It’s a hugely important partnership, Take That fit the family ethos of our brand so well and we have already seen a strong uplift in website engagement from prospective customers. We look forward to the band’s stadiummk concert as part of their tour in May, particularly as Suzuki GB is shirt sponsor of MK Dons and has been since 2016.

In addition, Suzuki is also sponsoring the very popular Gogglebox on Channel 4, which is another major coup for us as a brand in the UK.

Milton Keynes has been at the forefront of the UK driverless endeavours, can you share Suzuki’s UK plans?

Suzuki has no plans in this area in the near to medium future, we will certainly watch the development of fully autonomous vehicles with interest although we feel it’s still in the development and testing phase in our industry at this time.

How important is the recent interest in hybrid and plug in electric vehicles to the future of the company and what plans do you have for the UK government’s upcoming ban on Diesel & Petrol cars?

This is very important to our brand for the future, particularly as European emissions targets get even more stringent after 2020. Suzuki has a target range average of 90.3g/km to meet and our own Research and Development along with technology sharing with Toyota Motor Corporation will certainly help achieve this. Suzuki does have some advantage in this area already having recently announced the opening of its own lithium-ion battery plant in Gujarat, India.

For more information, visit the Suzuki website