Exploring ways to get closer to fleet partners

Alfa Romeo and Jeep benefit as FCA Fleet & Business builds brand awareness through ‘get to know you better’ meetings with Hitachi Capital

Building long-lasting relationships with key influencers is a priority for FCA Fleet & Business in establishing Alfa Romeo and Jeep as leading brands in the fleet industry.

Many end-user fleets rely on their leasing companies to recommend the right cars to drivers, which often means brands can be left off of choice lists.

In order to strengthen relationships with its leasing partners, FCA Fleet & Business has begun sponsoring some of the partners’ sales meetings.

The first one of the year was with Hitachi Capital. Led by Adam Bowen, leasing and contracts manager at FCA Group, key members of the FCA fleet sales team joined 22 people from Hitachi.

It gave Bowen a chance to present to the account managers and new business managers from Hitachi Capital, before demonstrating the latest models in the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep line-up.

“Every OEM wants to talk to the funders, but it’s very hard to get all the key people together at one opportunity.

“The only way of doing it is hosting one of their quarterly national sales or new business meetings, and to host the first one of the year for Hitachi was a great opportunity for us,” Bowen said.

Once the day was complete and Hitachi Capital’s team had finished its meeting, FCA Fleet & Business hosted a dinner, giving the opportunity to get to know the Hitachi Capital team on a personal level.

“We can spend millions on TV advertising, but we do not get a true realisation of who we’ve reached or what their opinion of our products was.

“If you get 22 people in a room and then spend the evening with them talking about their customers, you can get a true reaction of what they think of your products,” said Bowen.

The leasing company account managers and business development managers are the ones that have the end-user fleet relationships and can promote the Alfa Romeo and Jeep brands alongside competitor products.

Bowen said: “We know that the Germanic brands feature heavily in fleet management thinking, but our challenge is to demonstrate that our product portfolio can meet their needs at a very competitive level.

“Everybody in fleet knows Fiat, but Jeep and Alfa Romeo are not at the top of consideration lists. When people are on the lookout for a new fleet or looking at a cost saving exercise, they might not think about Alfa Romeo.”

“We are not in the top three vehicles of choice at the moment, and that’s our target for 2019. We have to show the corporate world we have the portfolio to meet their business’s needs”

Since the launch of the Giulia in 2016 and the Stelvio a year later, Alfa Romeo has been building momentum in the fleet sector.

“We are only talking to true fleet customers. It’s the people who have other products and may have not been satisfied – but want something different and don’t want the German model.

“A lot of people like the Giulia when they see it.

“We want to get the message across to drivers that a company car is your car, your family car, your weekend car and if you want something exciting and you want something you can be proud of, you can get that from an Alfa Romeo,” added Bowen.

Showcasing the product range to Hitachi Capital’s team through presentations is effective to an extent, but getting them behind the wheel on a test drive provides a far more memorable experience.

Bowen took a fleet of demonstrator vehicles to the event, allowing the attendees to sample the latest Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Fiat products for themselves.

The event gave the FCA Fleet & Business sales team the chance to highlight its importance in the corporate world.

Fiat Professional is already a leading force in the emergency services sector, providing Ducato Ambulances.

Bowen said: “Ambulance trusts have recognised the value provided by switching from Germanic brands to the Fiat Professional range. Feedback from the meeting highlighted that this improved customer value can be easily demonstrated across the FCA range. An example would be the Fiat Tipo which can effectively compete with volume players in the market and has been readily adopted by big utility companies with engineers covering high mileages.”

Following the meeting, a number of new leads have been generated with customers that have previously not taken FCA Group products.

Bowen plans to host more leasing company meetings this year.

The latest models were made available for Hitachi Capital managers to test for themselves

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