Skoda is launching a fleet strategy initiative for a number of its dealers, named ‘Fit for Fleet’ which will run to 2015 and encourage business car sales growth.

Thirty of its 136-strong network are participating in the scheme. Fleet boss Martin Burke said the brand is asking retailers to focus on creating their own fleet market strategy, including specialised fleet funding and staff. Skoda is also providing additional fleet demos for test drives. “We’re providing them with qualified leads to follow customers. We want them to prospect local markets.”

Skoda managing director Robert Hazlewood said: “It’s about putting more structure around it. We’ve got fantastic new product coming and we’ve got to do other things around it. We hope more dealers will notice and feel that, and over time increase the programme to 50-60 retailers.” He added the network would focus on small and medium-sized fleets which it classes as up to 24 vehicles and between 25 and 100 cars.

Burke described the new Octavia, arriving in 2013, as being “as significant to the brand as the A4 was to Audi all those years ago”.

“We’re massively excited from a company car point of view in terms of the Octavia. We’ll continue to build the brand over the next 18 months, and we think it will have a fantastic reception and be a real company car choice for user choosers.”

Skoda is also taking to the road, starting this month, with regional ride and drive events for fleet customers and leasing companies.

Last year was a record year for the brand selling 41,000 cars in total, with 2011 expected to hit the 45,000-mark. In fleet, 17,000 cars were sold in 2010, with a predicted 21,000 to be sold this year. Hazlewood said by 2015, 36,500 fleet cars would be sold.

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