Fiat Auto’s chief executive, Giancarlo Boschetti, has voiced strong criticism of the company’s UK dealer network. In unusually candid remarks picked up by the UK motoring weekly Auto Express he said: “The quality of service isn’t good in the UK. We must improve or we’ll lose customers.”

Speaking about the standard of Fiat’s cars he added, “It’s not the best in Europe, but it’s acceptable. Our past isn’t brilliant, so it will take time to convince the public of this. We have to improve.”

Fiat and Fiat car models regularly appear at or near to bottom in UK consumer and reliability surveys with dealer service coming in for very heavy criticism.