The UK’s Abarth dealer network is being held up as an example to other markets, senior company executives have revealed.
They believe there are lessons colleagues in other European countries can learn from the British model.
International sales manager Alex Orsi said that in Germany – like the UK, a strong market for the company – Abarth had struggled to disassociate itself from its parent firm.
“If Fiat is not doing so well we are tarred with the same brush. In the UK the customer is more educated and is less interested that the car used to be a Fiat and more interested that it is now an Abarth.”
Orsi also praised UK dealers for not simply being interested in selling the cars – currently based on the Punto Evo and Fiat 500 – at any price.
“It’s about achieving the target, but without flooding the market, which is the problem that is happening in Italy to some extent. It’s about margins and residuals, and that’s what the UK is doing well,” he said.
Abarth’s UK MD, Ivan Gibson, added that the UK was very advanced in how customers paid for cars when compared with other nations.
“Finance products such as the PCP, which is well established here, are new in other markets,” he told AM.
Gibson also revealed that Abarth will be opening a dealership in Bristol later this year.
It will be operated by Wessex Group, which already has a franchise in Cardiff.
The brand’s newest dealer is Meridien Milano in Portsmouth.
A joint Alfa Romeo and Abarth dealership, it opened last month.
Abarth dealers are more than 50% ahead of the factory-set sales target, making Britain the largest market outside Italy.
A 500-based two-seater speedster, with a choice of hard or soft tops, is due in showrooms next year.