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'Dabbling' over as Seat gets serious about fleet

Date: 05 November 2010   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Seat is to stop "dabbling" in the corporate sector and plans to push its share of the fleet market up to 2.5% within four years as it adds six staff to its business sales department.

The target came from Seat UK's director Peter Wyhinny, who said: "This is part of our new focus. Strategically you cannot dip in and out of fleet. You have to go for it and sustain involvement or you might as well not bother."

Up until the end of August - and under ex-Audi employees Nick Andrews, head of fleet, and national fleet manager Sally Livingstone - VW's Spanish brand's business sales climbed by 2500 units or 21.5%.

Wyhinny conceded that Seat was "still absent from a lot of fleet people's agendas - not rejected but simply not considered because we are not in the forefront of their minds. It is a slow burn process, with no shortcuts and all about getting the fundamentals right."

But he pointed to a "new team ethos" resulting in Centrica, Royal Mail and Costains adding Seat to their consideration lists while Andrews is currently recruiting six additional "dedicated" fleet department staff.

Wyhinny added: "Having traditionally placed more focus on retail we have only dabbled in fleet. We have climbed to 1.8% of the fleet market this year and there is no reason why we should not be a 2.5% player within four years."

He claimed the new Ibiza ST estate should improve the 15-20% fleet element for its hatchback counterparts by combining boot space that's on a par with the larger Leon's with supermini running costs aided by the 1.2-litre, diesel Ecomotive variant's 80.7mpg and 92g/km CO2 figures.

Wyhinny admitted that the wider VW Group generated "quite a few" company car sales including several hundred Bentley staff based in Crewe opting for Seat lease cars.

He said: "We are passionate about maintaining strong RVs and absorb rental cars into our network. It is about building trust in the customer base so they don't lose a pile of money on used values, plus careful management and not inflating new list prices to make projected RVs look better."

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