The UK is one of the latest countries to introduce the system, which integrates the sales, service and maintenance departments through Fiat Link. It is currently being installed throughout the UK dealer network, with the aim of introducing advanced IT resources to the sales and service field, assisting dealers in boosting sales and customer loyalty.
The pan-European Link project was first introduced in Spain in 2002, and was extended last year to Italy and Belgium.
By 2005, it will have been taken up by the entire Fiat Auto European dealer network, covering 17 countries, 1,800 dealers and 4,000 workshops.
The system will serve some 18,000 users on the sales side (eSales) and 24,000 on the workshop side (eServices). The firm believes Fiat Link, which aims to get close to a seamless integrated operation linking sales, service and maintenance centres, will revolutionise operations.
Sales outlets will have real-time access to product and marketing information, while dealers will be able to check stock availability and calculate instant finance options.
The theory is that customers will effectively ‘build’ a car to their specifications by researching all the available models, parts, colours, and so on. In the future, it will also be capable of letting dealers show comparisons with other competitive brands.
The most immediate advantage of Fiat Link, the company claims, lies in revenue growth for dealers by reducing the costs associated with back-office management. For the company itself, returns are primarily linked to offering high-quality services to customers and dealers alike.