Jeff Culkin, marketing director at Alfa Romeo UK, says urgent work is required to improve the brand’s customer retention rate – currently 22%. Culkin sets an initial CRR target of 40%.
“In the past, product quality issues and us and our dealers not getting things right have done the brand few favours. We now build better cars and we now have to deal with customer service issues,” he says.
He adds the network needs to improve customer relations ready for the January 2006 arrival of the 159, Alfa’s rival to the BMW 3-series and Audi A4.
The recent launch of the Fiat Academy is designed to address many of the network’s failings by providing training programmes for staff at all levels.
The company also hopes to build on its current sales, and has set the 75-strong network a target of around 9,500 new car sales this year, an increase of almost 1,500 units on 2004.
“We will also be marketing our models through advertising, PR and events using the lifestyle media as we re-establish the Alfa Romeo brand as being iconic, fashionable and desirable,” says Culkin.
“We have a very famous trademark and we need to make people aware that this company has been around for nearly 100 years, having produced the first Alfa car in 1910.”