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Skoda goes back to drawing board with dealer fleet sales programme

Skoda is reinventing its dealer Fit For Fleet programme, which was set up two years ago to drive fleet sector sales and was based on 30 dealerships singled out for their expertise in handling corporate business.

Despite cash incentives dealers have missed targets and Skoda has got the message that not everyone is willing to do fleet business.

"It has not worked out particularly well – we’re having to reinvent the whole thing," Skoda UK brand director Alasdair Stewart told AM's sister magazine Fleet News.

The campaign had been drawn up as part of Skoda's five-year plan, Simply Grow, to strengthen its operations in Britain via improvements in marketing, dealer network standards, customer satisfaction and higher fleet penetration.

"Fleet is a crucial element in our development process and if we are not to miss out, we have to be more vigorous in an area that accounts for half the new car market. We’re looking for growth across all the channels as we work to lift our total annual volume from 60,000 this year to 78,000 in 2015," he said.

Currently, Skoda accounts for just over 1% of the fleet market and is aiming for a 2.5% share in two years’ time via improvements in the rental, Motability and true fleet sectors.

"The last area is vital. We need to make significant strides in the end-user business that includes contract hire and leasing.

"Retailers were set for a big part of this drive by investing in staff, facilities, marketing and prospecting in their local areas and we backed them with initial six-figure cash payments and extra margins on the fleet deals they achieved.

"But our targets have not been met and we have to accept that not everybody wants to do fleet business.

"On the other hand, some of our retailers are very active in fleet and have the resources to respond quickly to test drive requests. I think we need to work more closely with them to see how we can help make them even more proactive," he said.

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