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New Superb signals Skoda's fleet assault

Date: 29 May 2008   |   Author:

Skoda is hoping a new initiative to work with leasing firms will act as a catalyst for the brand's growth ambitions over the next few years.

Earlier this month the Czech firm launched the Skoda Agency scheme, aimed at improving its relationship with leasing firms, as part of its ambition of growing fleet business from 16,000 units to around 25,000 by the end of 2012.

"Our fleet business is currently 38% of our volume," said Skoda's fleet boss Martin Burke. "We see a real opportunity to move forward."

Launched in early May, Skoda Agency is a promise by the manufacturer that it can "fulfil a contract with a leasing company in terms of having the standards, people and procedures in place", said Burke. "We're ready to say we're serious. I believe our 38% should be more like 50% and we've got a great opportunity."

"We appoint the dealers as our agents, we sell to and invoice the leasing company directly and pay the dealer a commission," new Skoda boss Robert Hazlewood told BusinessCar. "It allows us to do business with the big leasing firms, and we take the credit risk and invoicing period, and dealers don't have to find several million pounds to do fleet business on a 30 to 45-day payment period."

Skoda has established a network of 32 dealers guaranteed to meet service standards and volume requirements, and Burke said 27 of the top 50 leasing companies have signed up.

The Czech firm has also said it can change the service intervals on its new Superb should leasing companies demand it. The car is subject to variable servicing at the moment, working out when it needs attention depending on the type of driving. But some leasing firms find it more difficult to calculate SMR costs with variable schemes.