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Latest Fiat boss rules out rental deals

New Fiat Auto UK boss Jose Antonio Garvia will refuse to revert to boosting volume through discounted deals with daily rental operators, despite the manufacturer’s poor sales performance last year.

The 49-year-old Spaniard, who takes command of the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands on January 31, comes with a high reputation after transforming Alfa’s fortunes in his home country. In 2004, UK Alfa Romeo sales slumped by nearly 22% to 8,072 units, while Fiat dipped 2.67% to72,825 in a market which fell 0.5%.

Garvia has to turn round Fiat Auto’s decline in sales and badge perception following the failure of Stilo and other new models to ignite a revival in business and retail sales.

He is an economics graduate who has worked only in Spain, first with GM and then Fiat since 1986. Garvia’s UK appointment is regarded by Fiat as a promotion.

As market general manager of Fiat Auto UK, Garvia replaces both Massimo Toso and Andrew Lester, suggesting Fiat and Alfa are set to move closer together after spending the past two years separating both retail networks and internal operations.

Toso, who spent 30 months heading Fiat UK, was last week in Turin for talks about his future. In contrast, Alfa Romeo UK boss Andrew Lester, a former Jaguar executive, has left the company after less than six months. In a statement, Fiat Auto thanks both men “for their contributions”.

Barry Singleton, chairman of the Fiat UK dealer council and of Moss Rose Motors, Macclesfield, Cheshire, says: ‘We are sorry to see Massimo Toso go, as he did a good job. It augurs well for the network if Jose Antonio Garvia holds his nerve and ensures Fiats are sold for a decent profit.”

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