Plans to boost its UK dealer network have been unveiled by Abarth, the in-house performance brand of Fiat Group.
Ivan Gibson, head of Abarth UK, told AM: “We don’t want to saturate the market, but I would like to see us up from the current 18 to 30 dealers over the next 12-18 months.”
Abarth sold 1,380 cars in the UK in 2009 and Gibson wants to hit 1,500 this year. The target should be easily achieved with the forthcoming launch of the Abarth Punto Evo and Abarth 500C. A bespoke Abarth two-seater – along the lines of a Lotus Exige – is expected to debut within two years.
Gibson confirmed there were gaps in the network along the M4 corridor in the Newbury or Swindon areas, plus Milton Keynes and East Anglia.
“There’s also an opportunity along the south coast. We have Westover Sportscars in Poole, who are doing a superb job, but there’s nothing else down there. I would like to see another one between Portsmouth and Brighton.”
Assuming they already owned suitable premises, Gibson said dealers were looking at start-up and corporate identity costs of around £70,000. “We have had a great deal of interest in the franchise from within Fiat Group dealers and those outside as well.”