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Fiat looks to 500L to capture fleet growth

Fiat believes its 500L model will help it capture growth in rental and Motability markets to help grow the size of the business in the UK.

The brand is currently retail focussed and dependent on its 500 brand expanding to provide a larger range of models for customers.

Fiat is strong in the retail market which accounts for almost seven out of ten sales leaving plenty of scope in the fleet market where Fiat's sales - at 34% - are well below the industry average.

Karl Howkins, Fiat Group UK commercial director, said: “I like a challenge, and Fiat is a challenge, but it has great product coming. You can be the best salesman in the world but you need the products to sell.”

He describes the 500 as still flying, five years after its launch. It has also built up customer loyalty.

He said: “But you need product to have fleet sales and we now have B, C and SUV segment vehicles. There is scope for the 500L in the rental and Motability markets.

"If it makes sense, we'll do it. If it doesn't make sense we won't do it. There is a lot of good fleet business out there.”

His remit covers all six Fiat Group brands and he admits that the company needs to do better with Alfa Romeo - and will, with new Giulietta, Mito facelift and 4C on the near horizon as well as the new sports car being developed with Mazda which will be based on the new MX-5.

Howkins said: “Jeep is hugely exciting; everyone knows Jeep so that's the draw to Chrysler," he said adding that the big push on Chrysler will come next year.

Howkins points to June sales for Fiat being up 22% year-on-year as one reason for his optimism.

Next month comes the 500L MPW which is 20cms longer than the 500L but about 20cms shorter than the average station wagon in this segment. Fiat describes the car as being the link between MPV and estates.


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  • Shedloads - 19/07/2013 18:54

    Howkins says "I like a challenge, and Fiat is a challenge"! Good luck in the fleet market mate....nothing like shooting yourself in the foot! Jeep's the draw to Chrysler....Howkins is clearly a genius when it comes to brand strategy. Are you any good at painting by numbers? 500L...terrible looking car. Once again Fiat have taken a design triumph and turned it into a complete disaster. Hopefully Motability will buy shedloads.