Skoda has launched a ‘fit for fleet’ initiative with 30 retailers that will enable it to raise the level of corporate competence within the dealer network.
This group will have the skills and a dedicated member of staff to handle fleet business, backed by training, additional demonstrator cars and prospecting leads provided by Skoda.
“We want our network to have a fleet platform to grow with us,” said Skoda had of fleet Martin Burke. “We will have 30 retailers taking part initially with a view to growing that once the expertise grows.”
The focus will not just be on smaller fleets; Skoda also expects standards to rise in the way retailers handle all fleet business, with the emphasis on consistency.
The new initiative will prepare the network for a series of launches over the next few years. In 2013, Skoda will launch a new car every 3-4 months; it will end the year as a seven-model manufacturer, up from five models today.
The two new cars will be its version of the Volkswagen Up city car, called Citigo, and a sports family car, currently named MissionL. Both cars were unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in October.
While they will have a big role to play in Skoda’s future, the real fleet opportunity will come with the next generation Octavia, which sits plum in the corporate sector.
Burke draws a parallel between that car and the A4 which kick-started Audi’s brand revival in the mid-1990s. “We will see the same significant impact as that,” he said.
By 2015, Skoda is targeting fleet sales of 36,500, a 62% rise from this year’s forecast 22,500, for a 3.25% share of the market.
Meanwhile, the fleet sales team is expanding from five to eight, while next year two fleet aftersales managers – one for the north, one for the south – will also be added. It will take the fleet team to 21.
“The aftersales managers will bring our SLA together with fit for fleet,” says Burke. “They will focus on our pricing and fleet package for service, maintenance and repair.”
Ongoing developments will see Skoda look to improve accessibility to test drives and keeping customer mobile through reducing the booking lead times from five days to three and offering more replacement cars.