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Fiat to restore fleet boss role

Date: 04 January 2010   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Fiat plans to restore the position of fleet director to the firm, with the search for a new head of business sales "starting seriously" during the first quarter of 2010 according to the brand's managing director Andrew Humberstone.

He said: "We will hire a dedicated fleet director in 2010 when I get the right person. We may yet have to head-hunt and I am overseeing that strategy with my senior colleagues. We have looked at a couple of people but the process starts seriously during the first three months of next year."

Mr Humberstone added: "It is about getting the right person with the right business and commercial DNA, experience and understanding. I am not rushing into hiring on the basis of 'gosh we need someone today.' We made the role redundant earlier this year and the new remit will involve more direct fleet channels while we revisit the whole structure surrounding fleet."

Sales director Andrew Sproston is managing the revamp, which should integrate Fiat cars and commercial vehicles plus Alfa Romeo, Abarth and ultimately Maserati within a single business car strategy.

Humberstone said the department will be "remodelled along different reporting lines, including how we use marketing and other departments to greater effect. Fiat's recent success gives our management team more credibility in the business sector. When we include Alfa Romeo and Abarth people should hopefully stop saying they have heard it all before because we are now delivering."

Fiat's former fleet director Adam Pumfrey was made redundant last year and joined fleet management firm Freedom Automotive, which was born from the management buyout of collapsed Camden Corporate Fleet Services.

Humberstone said he had been resolute and consistent about "not being interested in daily rental unless it makes commercial sense, which generally it does not. I am not interested in it unlike some rivals who discount heavily."

He added: "I get offers every day to do another 1000 cars, businesses knocking on my door asking for 35% discounts. We turn them down and say 'thanks for no thanks'. The value guides plus leasing and contract hire people watch us to see if we talk with forked tongue. We have a lot more credibility and people are starting to listen and give us a lot more trust.

"We carry out business analysis on every fleet proposal, asking what does it do to the brand and the network and ultimately the retail customer in RV terms. No one operates in isolation."

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