Fleet News

Exclusive: Skoda to "reinvent" Fit for Fleet programme

Disappointing results have prompted Skoda officials to scotch an ambitious plan aimed at boosting UK sales of company cars.

Set up two years ago and based on 30 retail outlets singled out for their expertise in handling corporate business, the Fit for Fleet programme is now being shut down, Fleet News can reveal.

"It has not worked out particularly well – we’re having to reinvent the whole thing," admitted Skoda UK brand director Alasdair Stewart.

In an interview as the VW subsidiary launched its facelifted Superb hatchback and estate car range in Austria, he said the campaign had been drawn up as part of the Czech firm’s five-year plan to strengthen its operations in Britain.

Under the plan, billed Simply Grow and launched in 2010, the company is spending more than £50 million in a bid to extend the reach of its brand via improvements in marketing, dealer network standards, customer satisfaction and higher fleet penetration.

"Fleet is a crucial element in our development process and if we are not to miss out, we have to be more vigorous in an area that accounts for half the new car market. We’re looking for growth across all the channels as we work to lift our total annual volume from 60,000 this year to 78,000 in 2015," he said.

Currently, Skoda accounts for just over 1% of the fleet market and is aiming for a 2.5% share in two years’ time via improvements in the rental, Motability and true fleet sectors.

"The last area is vital. We need to make significant strides in the end-user business that includes contract hire and leasing. Retailers were set for a big part of this drive by investing in staff, facilities, marketing and prospecting in their local areas and we backed them with initial six-figure cash payments and extra margins on the fleet deals they achieved.

"But our targets have not been met and we have to accept that not everybody wants to do fleet business.

"On the other hand, some of our retailers are very active in fleet and have the resources to respond quickly to test drive requests. I think we need to work more closely with them to see how we can help make them even more proactive," he said.

Author
Maurice Glover

 


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Comments

  • Nigel Boyle - 17/05/2013 12:19

    This seem a off beat interview/facts. I was at a Skoda event only a month back where the numbers were shown as going up and up. We have 7 on our fleet from 0 two years back, we more drivers interested than ever before.

  • JBS - 17/05/2013 13:35

    more like the the skoda team finally figured out that their retailer network is rubbish at customer service and building relationships that are long lasting. The retailer network are sadly not in that mentatlity of emplying staff on high basic salaries to look towards the long term. I dealt with one retailer in East London who's idea of a professional fleet approach was very much lacking. Nigel - as for your comments I would imagine by looking at the SMMT figures that the increase in volume is from other areas than the true fleet being described? Still, new Superb looks like a big improvement in design.

  • CCJones - 18/05/2013 14:54

    I am just about to embark into a new position within a large south coast dealer group, so this made interesting reading. I've heard good and bad about the Skoda fleet market and I'm walking into this with my eyes wide open with a view to maximise the opportunities within the AOR. The product looks great and with the support of Skoda UK this should be a productive remaining six months.

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