With Citroen unveiling the new Relay with a restyled front end and a host of detailed modifications at the CV Show, Fiat’s presence has been rather low key, with a modest update to its range. Transport News Brief went to find out why the new Ducato isn’t premiering at the Show.
The new Relay shares the same basic design as Fiat’s Ducato thanks to a joint venture agreement between Fiat and PSA group. Surprisingly, the restyled Ducato is not at the exhibition, with its first major appearance scheduled for Hanover in Germany later in the year. However, its absence did not dampen the spirits of Fiat Professional’s UK Director, Sebastiano Fedrigo.
The newcomer will after all be available in Britain from 1 July onwards and Fedrigo and his colleagues have sufficient stocks of the current Ducato to keep them going until then.
“As a consequence we should be able to take advantage of the fact that certain of our competitors are short of vehicles as a consequence of changes to their model range,” he adds.
Last year saw Fiat Professional enjoy a big rise in sales volumes and its UK success is continuing says Fedrigo. “In the first quarter we achieved a 5.3% market share; a 0.8% improvement,” he says.
While much of its success is product-driven, a lot of it is to do with the way in which the dealer network has been strengthened over the past two or three years, with 50% of its 78 sales, service and parts dealers linked to either DAF or Iveco heavy truck dealers.
As a result, customers get to enjoy the levels of aftersales service that hauliers expect, including in some cases workshops that stay open round-the-clock.
“We’re recruiting another 10 to 12 dealers this year, some of which will be linked to Fiat car dealers and some to truck dealers,” he says.