Seat has launched a dealer support programme to help provide better service to major fleet customers.
The programme, called Fleet Excellence, provides an annual £12,000 payment for dealers that sell more than 100 units to fleets a year. The sales must be to fleets that have 40 or more vehicles and that Seat has direct supply agreement and direct terms with.
The £12,000 payment supports the costs associated with fleet management, administration and systems support.
It helps “soften the business case”, according to the brand’s head of fleet and business sales, Peter McDonald.
In return, the dealers have to meet set standards around accurately forecasting when a vehicle will be available, the handover experience for the company car driver, transaction accuracy and training.
“These aren’t big glamourous things that are going to generate lots more sales, it’s around doing the basics really well,” McDonald said.
“Forecasting accuracy is quite important to us from a delivery perspective but also a lot of the leasing companies have SLAs around offering the vehicle to a customer. The car has to be in the country in the right amount of time and a lot of that is dependent on the dealer forecast.”
Transaction accuracy is also important because “we know it frustrates customers and leasing companies if the transaction of the invoice the dealer is trying to give is different to what the customer is expecting”, McDonald said.
Seat requires at least two people in each dealership to be trained on the Volkswagen Group Agency system – a direct invoicing system to the leasing company/fleet customer.
Dealers must also be scored well by company car drivers on the vehicle handover experience.
“The score card and standards we’re putting out to the dealer network are very similar to the Volkswagen and Škoda standards which means a whole bunch of the dealers already know , and we’re not putting complexity in,” McDonald said.
He added: “We are improving their business case and making fleet a bit more profitable for them so they will then give better service to customers.”
The dealers have yet to be appointed but McDonald anticipates that 15 to 25 of Seat’s network of dealers, will join the programme.
“The criteria is they put their hand up and we’ll have looked at their historic sales and have a pretty good idea of the sorts of volumes they do,” he said.
Fleet Excellence is an additional programme to Seat’s local business development programme, which launched in 2014 and provides £25,000 support a year to the dealers that have a dedicated Seat local fleet manager prospecting and managing small customers in their area.
Seat is maintaining this programme but has no plans to expand it beyond the 25 dealers currently in it as McDonald believes “it covers the majority of local fleet opportunities”.
It will be possible for a dealer to be both a member of Fleet Excellence and the local business development programme, provided they meet the criteria.
Four day test drives
Seat is looking to build on the success of its four-day test drive programme for the new Ateca SUV.
“Our intention is to maintain that and even stretch it across the rest of the range,” Peter McDonald said.
“Our approach is: let’s make it really easy for a fleet customer to access one of our cars. They don’t have to go into a dealership, we’ve got a dedicated phone number and website and they can book a four-day test drive and we’ll deliver the car to their home, when it’s convenient for them.
“It will also help that piece around in-dealership experience so if a dealer does have a fleet customer who wants to drive a car they can refer them to that process.”
Some of the four-day test drives of the Ateca have been with fleet operators who do not currently have Seat on their choice list.