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Skoda plans push to double fleet sales

Date: 21 October 2009   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Skoda is planning an "assertive" business car campaign, which the brand's head of fleet Martin Burke claimed should nearly double the company's share of the corporate sector by early 2012.

Using the new Superb Estate, on sale from February, as a focal point for its "born again" initiative Skoda's fleet department will deploy its first "significant and specific" marketing budget as it aims to reach 3% of the sector, or 30,000 cars.

Burke said: "Unless we punch above our weight people will not come to us or consider us in the fleet world. We have to be assertive rather than aggressive, shout from the rooftops with a different tone of voice than before. We must be a serious business-like brand before becoming a serious fleet player."

The large estate, with an anticipated £1100 price premium over the hatchback will, claimed Burke, help relaunch the Superb, which he admitted had underachieved with a 25% fleet factor, and show that along with the Octavia and Fabia Skoda hatchbacks and estates, offered a "serious portfolio of fleet choices".

Burke added: "Previously we relied on generic brand and product advertising and while that supports an emphasis on user choosers having a bespoke promotional budget rectifies what was a complete nonsense before.

"It is not enough to be jolly good old Skoda, an extension to the VW Group. We will project our own identity and be more assertive. Going from 1.6% of overall fleet sales to 3%, or 17,000 to 30,000 units annually is a realistic aspiration from early 2012."

Skoda's fleet department has identified motorway service areas as promotional "domains" for its target customers after advertising and marketing agency Mediacom showed potential clients average spend 28 minutes a working day using their facilities. As a result it plans to make contact via Costa Coffee wi-fi tables, fuel pump nozzle handles and billboards.

"Getting bums on seats and aware of our cars' premium class cabins is vital for us. We will canvas company car drivers, particularly user choosers at service areas and invite them to regional ride and drive events," explained Burke.