'We have increased market share for the last nine years, and that growth has been good strong growth.'
The firm has invested heavily in what it believes to be an industry leading research study to tell it exactly who buys which vans and for what reasons. Blades said: 'We were staggered to find out how poor the information in the CV market was. This report has allowed us to be more scientific.'
As a result, the firm's 60 specialist CV dealers have been kitted out with a CV product data system, which gives them the ability to sit down with a customer and navigate through the options, legislation, finance and specifications available on a menu-based laptop.
Fiat claims this is a first in the CV market, and will prove valuable, particularly for small fleet customers who may not have a clear idea of exactly what they require and who need guidance through the maze of detail.
The new Ducato was on display at the show, with new engines: 84bhp 2.0, 110 bhp 2.3 and 127 bhp 2.8-litre JTD diesel units, and a 110 bhp 2.0 petrol version. Prices range from £12,155 to £20,770 excluding VAT. Blades also confirmed that an LPG version of the van would be available later in the year.
The new Ducato also offers Fiat's CONNECT system as an option, from £804, although Blades said the firm was adopting a patient approach to such advanced telematics in vans. He said: 'Who knows what will happen? We're right out in front with CONNECT, but we'll grow it at the right speed. It will take people time to come to terms with the value of telematics in vans.'