Despite selling 50,000 cars to fleet and being the number one supplier this year, according to SMMT stats, John Hargreaves, Kia’s head of fleet and remarketing, thinks it is unlikely that the company will still be number one fleet supplier by this time next year, due to a rebalance of its fleet/retail mix. 

However, in response to Kia’s current success, it has announced a new ‘Kia Business Service Promise,’ which is designed to keep fleet and business customers mobile, as well as provide the best service and maintenance from across the dealer network.

The ‘Kia Business Service Promise’ allows any qualifying fleet car to benefit from manufacturer servicing at a preferential rate and business customers will also benefit from a 10 per cent parts price discount and MOTs priced at £35. On top of this, all cars will receive a complementary health check on every visit, with the latest software updates also installed free of charge.

Hargreaves told us: “We’ve got a bigger fleet vehicle park than we’ve ever had, and we’ve got 192 dealers who are eagerly waiting to service them and look after them. So, we’ve reviewed this, and we really do want to get people taking their cars back into the network.” 

Hargreaves and his team looked at the main reason why people weren’t choosing to do that, and found it was because customers believed an independent garage was going to save them money. So, they’ve addressed that by helping the dealers provide a lower labour rate.  

He said: “We’ve put a standard rate out for fleet customers, of £49 per hour plus VAT. We think this makes us competitive with independents, and we think that will encourage our fleet customers. It will also mean, that because the dealers are getting support from us, they will look enthusiastically at fleet cars – so it’s a good proposition for them. 

“We’re also doing parts discount, better MOT rates, and free vehicle heath checks. We think it’s a virtuous circle, because a car that’s been back in the main dealer, using our parts is a better proposition as a used car. 

“So, we’re investing a lot of money in this programme – but we think we’re going to get that money back when it comes to whole life costs and contract hire rates.”

Additionally, the ‘Promise’ has a no quibble policy to keep fleets mobile, where if a fleet car is taken off the road for a warranty issue, Kia will assist with putting a driver in a like-for-like car. 

On the ‘Promise’ Hargreaves told us: “We’d always try and keep people mobile, but it’s often almost post-dealer diagnosis. We’ve changed the way we’re looking at that now, as we’re saying that as soon as someone is off the road, we will take the immediate problem away from them by putting them in a relief vehicle, whether that vehicle has been looked at a dealer, or not. 

“We think it’s the right thing to do as it improves the experience for fleet people who operate our cars.”