Fiat bets on new 500X for fleet
22 April 2015
Author: Daniel Puddicombe
Fiat is hoping to bolster its fleet sales and break into the top 15 fleet manufacturers in the UK this year with the arrival of the new small SUV 500X this week.
Fiat increased its fleet car sales by 16% to 24,195 units last year, which put it in 17th position just behind Honda.
The Italian firm has built its brand in the UK around its 500 supermini, which represented more than half (55.5%) of its corporate sales last year. Fiat is hoping to trade on the style and goodwill built up by the 500 to attract 7000 conquest customers with the 500X.
The 500 is the brand's only model to make it into the top 50 best-selling fleet cars last year, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, with an increase of 23.5% to 13,437 units.
Kate McLaren, Fiat's new head of brand in the UK, said the company would also be looking to actively convert up to 3000 customers that have bought a 500 supermini in the past to the 500X.
She said: "We need to replicate the success we've had with the 500 with the 500X.
"We need to play a part in all channels with the 500X, not just retail. Motability and user chooser business will be big for us and we have expanded our corporate sales team to from 16 to 30 people in order to grow our fleet volumes."
Fiat already has the larger 500L MPV but McLaren wants the 500X to sit beneath it in the range and compete in the rapidly expanding segment that includes the Mini Countryman, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur. McLaren believes there is room for the 500X to steal sales as the segment has grown from 55,000 units in the total UK market in 2012 to a predicted 180,000 units market this year.
McLaren said that while the P11D of the 500X is competitive at £14,595, pricing isn't aggressive against rivals, as Fiat wants to position the car as "upper mainstream".
Another way Fiat will be looking to expand its fleet sales is by collaborating across group brands Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. The corporate teams within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will take a portfolio approach when taking to prospective fleet customers and leasing companies.
McLaren said: "Our success rests on us having a competitive offer for fleets and there is a collaboration between the teams.
"With the spread of vehicles we have across the group, we can go to market with a comprehensive offering."