Surprise and disappointment

Dealers have taken to online forums, including the Service Dealer website, to express surprise and disappointment at the news that Honda is cutting around a quarter of its network.

Reading through the comments posted, there appeared to be shock at the way Honda informed the dealers who were being cut. A letter was sent to dealers informing them of their removal from the network, with many suggesting a phone call would have been the preferred way of breaking the news.

Rodger Bentley of Rodger Bentley Power Equipment said on the Service Dealer site, “It’s a shame that after 33 years of selling Honda that no one had the guts to tell us as gentlemen.”

Also on the same site, Matt Hughes of Buckland Garden Machinery said, “It would have been nice to have been told, or even consulted on this, before receiving a letter.”

Added to this discussion online over the style in which dealers were informed, was an anger and cynicism at the reasons offered by Honda for how they decided who to cut. Several who lost the franchise were understandably keen to vent their aggrievement. 

Last week Service Dealer asked Steve Morris, head of the Power Equipment Division at Honda UK if there was any regret over the loss of these 50 dealers. He said, "It's mixed emotions really. We have a relationship with all of our dealers, so inevitably with some of those relationships coming to an end it's sad - and we thank those dealers, wishing them every success in the future. But I think the irresponsible thing to do would be to not recognise the pressures on our network and react to that.

"We haven't taken this decision lightly. We have given a lot of in-depth study to it, with the conclusion that for our dealers to be sustainable in the long-term, this is the right thing to do."

Service Dealer founder, Chris Biddle, who has monitored Honda's role in the UK lawn and garden market since its inception, offers his opinion on the situation here.

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