AM Online

Subaru plans to double UK sales by 2006

A campaign in brand awareness is set to double sales of Subaru cars over the next five years to 20,000 units.

Subaru UK national fleet sales manager Harvey France said: "There's no point in a tiny company like ours attempting to compete with the volume manufacturers, but we do expect to continue achieving 40% of our sales with the business sector.

"As the market fragments after the introduction of new benefit-in-kind taxation rules, we think smaller players like ourselves will enjoy greater success."

Efforts to boost awareness had already helped take fleet sales from 1,000 in 1996 to 4,000 last year, said Mr France.

"We're confident further growth will come from efforts being made by our 32 business dealers. Each one is staging a ride and drive activity to back up the half a dozen corporate events we're now organising each year to introduce more people to the culture of our brand," he said.

In 1999 business sales accounted for 1,739 units of Subaru and sister company Isuzu's volumes, which equalled 15% of total sales. But in 2000, business sales accounted for 1,898 units - 20% of total volume. The business growth was due to a number of initiatives resulting in business from national companies to individual dealerships recruiting specialist corporate sales staff and targeting user-choosers and smaller fleets.

According to Mr France, the manufacturer's success is a result of a change in attitudes. He explained that dealers were being encouraged to think of corporate customers as a means of gaining regular business, rather than losing margins.



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