A more confident Seat
23 October 2014
Seat's new model line-up and growing pedigree of big fleet deals is giving it confidence to push on in the core fleet arena, as fleet boss Peter McDonald (pictured left) tells Paul Barker
Heading towards a year in the hot seat as far as Seat's fleet sales are concerned, Peter McDonald has scored a couple of big wins that have helped propel the brand forward in fleet profile terms.
Appointed head of fleet last December, McDonald moved from his previous role as head of planning to succeed Steve Robertson. Winning British Gas's fleet business in 2010 was Seat's most high-profile deal to date, and its parent firm Centrica renewed and extended the arrangement this summer, around the same time as BusinessCar revealed a joint Seat deal with Audi to snare financial giant Zurich's business. That was the first time two VW Group brands had worked together, and the ability to offer mainstream and premium models - replacing Vauxhall and BMW - was crucial to the deal.
"We're now more confident and have the confidence to speak to large fleets. Centrica has helped that and you can imagine who we had to beat to win the Zurich deal, which was done on whole-life cost and product," McDonald tells BusinessCar. "I think my team is much more confident walking into any fleet in the UK and being seen and having a case. Maybe that wasn't there in the past."
With the Zurich deal, the Leon 1.6 TDI 5dr is the benchmark car for the majority of eligible employees, who are then able to move up to higher-specification or more powerful Leon models, or into an Audi.
"We're proud to have been able to introduce Audi," says McDonald. "There are elements of the fleet where Audi doesn't have the right product, or has interest in, and elements of the fleet that they do, so together it's a really compelling proposition to work together to give the best of both worlds."
"Our interest is in Leon volume, but drivers have the ability to move up the Audi range," he continues. "People can walk up through the Leon range, to a Tech Pack or FR derivative, or to a Leon ST or an Audi. And we're quite happy if they're moving to Audi."