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Small Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are a key focus for Fiat Group’s sales growth in the UK corporate sector during 2008 according to fleet and remarketing director Adam Pumfrey.

Announcing its new Dealer Fleet Specialist programme, Fiat Group believes hundreds of thousands of smaller companies who run handfuls of company cars and/or vans provide a real sales opportunity for the brand.

“Our aim is to establish a group of dealers that will employ dedicated people to focus on developing relationships with fleets in their local area,” explained Adam Pumfrey, Fiat’s fleet and remarketing director.

“Our regional corporate sales team will work with each dealer to help them identify fleet prospects and to convert these relationships into sales.

“Having more contact with local companies and dealer staff who are trained to manage the needs of smaller fleets should see greater awareness of the Fiat range and ultimately increased sales,” he added.

Fiat has been talking to dealers for the past couple of months and is in the progress of appointing ten dealer fleet specialists in 2008 and to eventually grow the network to around fifteen.

Each dealer will be set a local fleet sales target, employ a dedicated fleet sales resource and run dedicated corporate demonstrators within the dealership. Finance training will be provided to enable each fleet specialist to engage with companies about a wide range of finance options including contract hire and contract purchase.

Each Fleet Specialist will also offer a comprehensive aftersales service for fleets which includes a collection and delivery service in their local area for company car drivers who need their car serviced.

“We are spending more time and money on marketing to the fleet market and we want to link this interest at a local level into our Fleet Specialist dealers. There are countless numbers of smaller companies who don’t run a structured fleet policy and who want something that is both stylish and practical enough on running costs,” said Pumfrey.

“The Bravo in particular, with the new low emission, Congestion Charge exempt 1.6 105bhp ECO diesel engine fits that bill. That’s without talking to them about vans. It’s a case of working with the dealers to ensure local companies are offered demonstrators to make them more aware of what we have to meet their requirements.”

To help smaller fleets prepare for the recent Duty of Care legislation Fiat has also launched a One Day Driver Development Course. Developed in conjunction with the Driving Instructors Association, it focuses on getting drivers into a car with a trained instructor which may be the first time they have been monitored since they passed their test.

“The aim of this programme is to educate smaller companies of the importance of looking after their drivers’ health and safety when at the wheel of their company vehicle. It gives them an opportunity to establish the quality of their drivers and then act on any issues that may arise.

“We want to make it clear that it is up to companies to be responsible for driver welfare and to make sure they are trained to a high enough standard for the amount, and type, of driving they do,” said Pumfrey.