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Full story: Ikea to supply Fiat look

Fiat Auto will next week reveal significant investment plans for its Fiat and Alfa Romeo networks that will drive improvements in customer service and brand perception in the UK.

It has already appointed Swedish furniture giant Ikea to supply showroom fittings for its Fiat showrooms and will announce further plans for the Alfa network during the British International Motor Show in London (July 20-30).

Fiat intends to reduce dealers’ fixed overheads, but wants extra investment in network development and making its marketing and dealerships more inviting for car buyers.

Luca De Meo, senior vice president of the Fiat brand, says it will take time to raise standards, but issues will be tackled one by one.

He adds: “We have a problem with service, so we have to fix the performance level in aftersales, along with improving the quality of the cars. The image of our dealers is generally lousy. This is partly our fault, by doing things like changing the corporate identity twice a year and never getting to the end of the process.

“Our priority is to make dealers more profitable. If they don’t make money, we won’t make money.”

De Meo says the focus will be on standards and economics. Investment needs to be in people and facilities.

Ikea will supply showroom fittings for a new low cost corporate identity programme, which De Meo wants rolled out at all European dealers by the end of 2008. UK dealers who invested in the most recent Fiat brand style, introduced a couple of years ago, will be the last to change.

“The look will be white walls, white floors and simple lighting. Lighting is more important than anything else,” he says. “It’s simple, chic and modern. Ikea has developed a catalogue for us, which can be ordered online. Dealers can choose what they want.”

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