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Fiat UK boss gets tough over business plans

After just over a year in charge of Fiat UK, Andrew Humberstone is getting tough with dealers and threatening to withhold incentives for those who do not co-operate with a new business plan.

But he does so from a position of strength in that the business improvements of the last few months are the best in 12 years.

Humberstone told a dealer conference on Thursday that he could not do business with dealers who did not have a business plan.

“We are asking everyone to come up with a proposal for return on investment and to agree with us that it is attainable,” he said.

The managing director told AM that he wanted a proper ‘bottom up’ forecast: how many cars could be sold and through which channels. Having done that, dealers should be able to show what market share they could win in their areas.

“I am not prepared to support dealers who do not have a clear business strategy. I am prepared to withhold incentive payments if I do not get a business plan. I am not interested in being a dictator; I want to be a partner but I need all dealers to be talking to us,” he added.

Humberstone might sound as if he is risking the relationship with the whole network, but he believes that in the 14 months he has been in charge, visited all 150 partners, and built relationships with those who will be staying with Fiat, he has also delivered huge improvements on profit and method.

“When I arrived, 75% of our volume was registered in the last three days. Now registrations are flat across the whole month. I do not need people who put us over a barrel at the end of every month.”

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