Gerry Clarke, director of Fiat Professional UK, said the new emphasis on the brand’s vans and service provision is bringing it within reach of more customers.
“Historically we’ve been seen as an add-on to the car business. But as we get to 500,000 sales worldwide we’re becoming a proposition in our own right. We want Fiat Professional status to focus sales within a brand dedicated to people who use commercial vehicles.”
Standards have been revised to make dealers more competitive, and the Fiat Academy has relaunched a dedicated Fiat Professional training programme. Clarke wants to ensure the network provides the professional service which business customers require, such as keeping some workshops open until midnight.
In the UK there are 175 Fiat dealers selling vans. These include 76 with Fiat Professional status, focused on the light commercial market and with a large stock holding of Fiat vans. They work to strict standards regarding the display of new and used vehicles, with workshops specialised in maintenance and repairs, and qualified sales personnel with specific training. Of those, 29 are also truck dealers with Iveco, part of Fiat Group.
Clarke said five new dealers have been added this year: “All those have been truck dealers, but that’s not necessarily the way we’re going, we need a mix of both. The user-chooser customer still likes to go to the car and van dealerships in mainstream locations, while the big business user will go to truck type dealerships on industrial estates.
“A large proportion of our sales are still in traditional dealerships but developing with the truck dealerships is helping us get into the bigger fleets. We’re getting through doors to see people that a few years ago didn’t want to listen to our message.”
Fiat Professional’s year-end sales are expected to total 14,500 units.