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Alfa Romeo turns attention to fleet sales

Alfa Romeo is ready to focus on growing its share of the fleet market after two years of strengthening its retail performance.

The company will launch the Giulietta in the UK this summer – a replacement for the 10-year-old 147 that will be benchmarked on price against the Volkswagen Golf – and believes it will have evidence to prove to market analysts it can be competitive on running costs.

Andrew Humberstone, managing director of Fiat Group UK, said: “We hadn’t been talking to CAP and Glass’s and the leasing companies until about four or five months ago.

“Then we were in a position to say ‘here we are with two years of evidence to show what we can deliver – please reflect that in your residual values forecasts.”

Humberstone said Alfa Romeo had its best year for sales in the UK last year since 2003, with more than 8000 vehicles registered.

Although some of those sales were attributable to the scrappage scheme, he said the percentage of scrappage sales was far lower than that of many other manufacturers, so the brand would suffer less of an impact from a tough year in the retail sector.

“We have effectively been absent from the fleet market for two years,” said Humberstone.

“The key difference for us compared with many other manufacturers in 2010 is that any activity in the fleet market for us will be incremental volume.”

Humberstone said he also planned to increase the number of Alfa Romeo dealers in the UK in 2010 from 50 to 55.

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