Daihatsu in gear for bank launch

Japanese car manufacturer Daihatsu aims to be the first motor company in the UK to launch a full range of banking services, including current accounts and mortgages.

Japanese car manufacturer Daihatsu aims to be the first motor

company in the UK to launch a full range of banking services, including

current accounts and mortgages.



The initiative is part of a strategy designed to establish Daihatsu as a

lifestyle brand for travel and recreation, which could enter a range of

markets in a similar way to Virgin.



Daihatsu’s diversification comes as BMW plans to position itself as a

service brand, rather than just a motor manufacturer, in preparation for

a change in European law which will allow any company to sell cars.



Although other car firms, including BMW, Volkswagen and Ford, have

financial services divisions, they only offer car finance deals.



Daihatsu Financial Services, a joint venture between the company, its UK

distributor Inchcape Motor Retail and Bank of Scotland subsidiary

Capital Bank, aims to offer a range of banking products, including home,

motor and travel insurance and credit cards, by 1999.



Daihatsu, which is part-owned by Toyota, plans to capture 5% of the

European small-car market over the next five years. This year, it

boosted its ad spend from pounds 1m to pounds 7m, through Banks Hoggins

O’Shea.



The company has also launched schemes such as City Daihatsu, which

allows customers in London to test-drive and buy cars from their own

homes.



Paul Williams, chief executive of Daihatsu UK, said soon there would be

little difference between selling cars and supplying transport

needs.



’We know that people do not want to drive around in a Daihatsu all the

time, so we are going to extend our relationship with customers to other

services.’



See story, page 7.



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