“Dealer confidence has never been higher. We have never appointed more dealers than we have this year and we are extremely bullish,” says Rowe.
That comes despite the target date for profitability being postponed for the fourth time in three years, with the deadline now having been extended to 2007 by Fiat group chief executive Sergio Marchionne. But Fiat says this is not affecting its dealers, who, it claims, have a stronger relationship with the manufacturer than ever. The carmaker has also seen its market share in the UK increase by 2.9% in the last 12 months.
“We have never been in a better position. Dealers are seeing their business improving and many are looking to expand with us. They are very much behind us and very confident in us. Things are going well.”
Last month Fiat Auto annou-nced a major restructuring of its management, the second in less than three years. Its chief executive, Herbert Demel, is expected to reveal his new team shortly.
The new structure will see the independent Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo business units stripped down into marketing groups, although still responsible for their individual profits and losses.