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Confident Skoda targets large fleet business

Skoda is in one of the strongest positions in its history, after it confirmed it is working to fulfil its largest UK order bank ever.

Now the manufacturer is looking to get more dealers and groups to consider the franchise.

Following SG Smith and the Wayside Group taking on the franchise over the past month, the marque has reduced its open points to 17, which it plans to have filled by the end of 2012.

“This is not about changing the DNA of the network but about bringing smaller regional groups in that still have the same mindset about customer satisfaction that our network do but give us the scale to appeal to more fleet user choosers,” the Czech manufacturer’s head of fleet sales Martin Burke told AM.

Skoda has 2% of the new car market and last year sold 37,253 units. This year it is likely to exceed 40,000 sales as it moves towards achieving a 3% slice of the market.

“That is an important barrier to break through,” said Burke.
“We currently have our highest order bank ever of 11,500 cars, which is the strongest position the brand has ever been in.”

To continue to drive sale, the carmaker is focussing on driving fleet sales, especially to large fleets.

Part of the strategy will see dealers get pre-qualified sales leads from an outsourced company to help them achieve more local fleet businesses.

However, Skoda is turning its main attention to large fleet and lease business.

Therefore, it warns dealers not to expect major incentives or programmes to help them win local fleet business.

“Our whole focus is on national fleet only, we don’t do local business,” said Burke referring to business to sub-25 vehicle fleets, which is handled by its dealers.

“We’re a smaller brand trying to make a big impact, if we are going to get a return on this the opportunity is with the bigger 25+ fleets and the leasing companies.”

However, Skoda’s 126 dealers will receive some help. “The one thing the network hate to do is prospect,” said Burke. “They are asking us to drive demand into their showroom and make it easy for them.”

So Skoda will use the outsourced company to qualify local business sales leads and pass them to dealers.

Skoda dealers will also enjoy a supply of nearly new cars – between six and eight months old - after Burke confirmed Skoda will supply between 3,500 and 4,000 cars into short-term rental this year, all on buy-back and all to be disposed through the dealer network.

Last year Skoda sold 37,253 cars in total, with 3,600 going to daily rental. This year that could rise to 4,000.

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