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Luxury brands up service level as competition grows

By Han Tianyang  (China Daily)

10:46, May 13, 2013

Journalists visited BMW's new training center in Guangzhou recently. [Provided to China Daily]

Training stressed to give manufacturers edge in customer care

In response to increasingly fierce competition in China's luxury car market, manufacturers have increased investment in dealer training to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

To offer professional instruction to its dealer staff, BMW recently opened a new training center in Guangzhou, its third on the Chinese mainland.

The opening of the new center has increased total training time within the company to 230,000 person-days this year, which is up from 182,000 person-days last year.

A person-day is defined as a day's worth of training for a single person.

The company's other two existing training centers are in Beijing and Shanghai.

According to the company, it is preparing to set up another training center in the northwestern province of Xi'an, but no timetable has been disclosed yet.

Additionally, BMW has training programs in 15 colleges or vocational schools across the country to cultivate technicians.

The company said it will continue to increase training capacity to support the expansion of its dealer network.

The number of BMW dealer outlets in China is likely to reach 420 by the end of this year, and they will employ about 43,000 staff.

Karsten Engel, president and CEO of BMW Group Region China, said that the company needs "professional, experienced and dedicated people" to deliver high-quality services that live up to the expectations of customers.

"The days of super-fast growth in China's premium market are over. The key topic of tomorrow is quality," he said.

In the first quarter, sales of luxury cars in China edged up 4 percent from a year earlier.

Though many analysts expect an increase of more than 10 percent for the full year, the growth is a far cry from the double-digit increases in the past several years.

Last month, Mercedes-Benz also opened a new training center in China.

The facility in Chengdu is the company's sixth in the country and its second-biggest one aside from the one in Germany.

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