Single site dealership Wings of Peterborough has held the Skoda franchise for 18 years. Five years ago fleet business made up a quarter of its sales; fleet now makes up half.
This increase has been driven locally by taxi sales and, on a wider scale, Skoda’s success in providing vehicles to the emergency services.
“It’s a growing market,” said Wings retail principal Paul Wing. “Fleet and business sales have been growing strongly over the last five years.
“Fleets now realise has the lowest running costs within the sector, along with high residual values and low service costs.”
Rising sales and growing awareness for Skoda has brough steady growth for Wings, but the size of the business - £4.8m turnover and a customer base spanning 70 miles - allows the 18 staff to get to know customers personally, resulting in good retention. Some are now returning to buy their seventh or eighth Skoda from the dealership
Wing says demand for new products, which make up 55% of the 500 annual sales, is strong.
“Fabia and Octavia are doing exceptionally well,” he says. “The whole range is doing well but Fabia is outstripping supply. Every car is forward sold, nobody has many spare cars.”
While Skoda markets itself as the “manufacturer of happy drivers”, Wing says it is equally good at keeping dealers on side. Training from its Milton Keynes HQ is well received and the business development group, similar to a dealer council but split regionally, allows problems to be reported.
With predicted turnover of £6.2m for 2008, Wing is positive that this year will be a good one for the franchise. “There are lots of new models coming. Superb has had rave reviews, and DSG and VRS models are due later in the year,” he said.