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Suzuki targets fleet growth with S-Cross

Suzuki is expecting to improve its fleet growth with the introduction of its new S-Cross model in September.

Suzuki is primarily a retail brand in the UK with only 2,000 sales from a total of 30,000 cars sold last year going to fleets.

Andrew Wale, Suzuki national corporate sales and remarketing manager is expected fleet volumes to increase to 5,000 a year over the next four years as the company looks to balance out its fleet and retail shares in the UK.

The Japanese brand believes the S-Cross will be a success with fleets, particularly Motability.

Wale said: “Suzuki today is like Honda was 20 years ago when I joined them.

“That means plenty of opportunity to expand the corporate and fleet sales business, without hurting profitability.”

Wale’s first priority has been to build closer links with CAP and Glass's to establish residual values for new models ahead of launch.

He said: “The work we are doing on residual values for fleet will benefit retail customers too because it will mean lower monthly payments.”

Suzuki has already increased the number of cars sold through Motability to 900 this year from 300 last year. But Wale is unlikely to advocate entering the daily rental market. "I'm not under any pressure to grow sales other than organically," he said.

He plans to "ease the dealers into fleet sales'. The 145-strong dealer network will be able to use Suzuki contract hire, developed with Lex Autoleasing, to offer buyers competitive terms, he said.

He believes the idea of business centres, used by some manufacturers, notably prestige brands, doesn't work. "They are too expensive to run and anyway, 80% of business sales are made through only six or seven dealers," he said.

Instead, 10 Suzuki dealers will be used to focus on business sales and if other dealers want to be involved "we will help them."

"It's more about product, pricing and servicing than worrying about the colour of the floor tiles," he said.

Suzuki has grown total registration volumes by 34% in the first half of 2013, sitting above Volvo and Mazda in the league table.

The brand will be launching a city car next year and will also be launching a B-segment SUV to rival the Nissan Juke in 2015. A B-segment hatchback is planned for a 2016 launch.

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