Fleet News

'Connect' for a year free with Stilo

FIAT will offer one year's free subscription to its hi-tech Connect telematics service in the new Stilo that goes on sale next month.

The advanced (and optional) Connect system includes an SOS button to connect to a contact centre in Italy to summon roadside assistance and request information, such as hotel and petrol station locations.

More sophisticated versions link to an in-car satellite navigation system so that drivers can programme route information from the contact centre straight into the guidance system - eventually the call centre operator will text these directions directly to the sat-nav.

Fiat believes company drivers will be the first keen customers for Connect, given the daily stresses faced by high-mileage drivers finding new addresses.

The free offer is worth about £100, and is designed to showcase the sophistication of the technology in the Stilo, a car that has to win fleet business to meet bold sales targets.

Fiat believes fleet and business sales could account for as many as 16,000 of the 32,000 Stilos it has forecast to sell this year in the UK. To put these ambitions into perspective, total retail and fleet Bravo/Brava sales peaked at 20,000 units in their best year and settled at 18,000.

To meet its targets, Fiat will have a 100-strong demonstrator fleet available to key fleets, contract hire companies and public sector decision-makers; will organise four regional ride and drive events for fleet operators and fleet dealers; and hold fleet dealer launch events for local businesses.

'We are upping our game in the whole area of fleet,' said Fiat UK managing director Jim Blades. 'Up to 18 months ago our fleet business was focused on pockets such as public authorities and ambulance services. But during last year a lot of our effort was taken with the restructuring of our fleet department, which at 24 people is now twice the size it was. We now have a full line fleet department that you would expect from a major importer.'

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