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Seat UK turns up the heat with ‘love’ for its dealers

That is an important card to play, because now that the Leon ST has launched in the UK market, Seat wants to win over more company car users.

“The group function opens doors for us, we can see all the customer base in UK, and tailor offerings to those who’ll need our cars,” said Peter McDonald, Seat UK’s head of fleet. In the long term, the brand wants its fleet share to catch up with its retail penetration.

Seat UK’s dealers are going to have to get cosier with their business neighbours if they are to capitalise on opportunities for growth. The ST will be a real catalyst for the dealer network to start to get into their SMEs. True fleet sales are a big opportunity for the brand to build on its successful retail growth of 2013, and Seat launched the car with a compelling £185 monthly contract hire rate for the 1.6TDI 105PS SE model, with free sat-nav and digital radio.

McDonald is developing a local business plan for the franchise. He said it’s a significant opportunity for the 20 dealers currently on it, who get dedicated funding for a local business development manager and variable funding support dependent on their activity and results. The programme may expand to 25-30 dealers over the next two years.

 “We see small businesses as a key channel for this car, especially as we’re seeing confidence return to the small business market. With a contract hire rate like this, we expect a lot of interest from small businesses.”

To ensure Seat dealers are more confident about buying more used cars, the brand will utilise the group’s white label field force which is working across the brands to help dealers improve their used car performance. This team has expertise on valuations, preparation and marketing and will be coaching and preparing dealers for the higher volume.

In addition, this year will see the launch of the Seat-branded part of Das Welt Auto, VW Group’s approved used car operation.

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