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Fiat Auto SA revs up for 2006

2006-01-12 09:06
In December 2005 Fiat Auto South Africa officially merged with Fiat Auto Brazil to become part of the Brazil-South Africa 'Pole'.

Unveiling plans for the future of the local company, Gorelli said the merger was a chance to tap into the expertise and experience of its Brazilian colleagues who are market leaders with a market share of 25%.

He also pointed out that the scale of the Brazilian operation will afford Fiat Auto South Africa many additional benefits.

"Having a direct link with such a huge carmaker that produces in excess of 500 000 vehicles annually (almost the total car market for South Africa) will not only give us an advantage when it comes to spare parts service and technical support, but the synergies in terms of marketing and general activities will be invaluable."

Gorelli conceded that 2005 was a formidable year for Fiat Auto South Africa. Product range, product quality, customer satisfaction, dealer satisfaction, brand image and willingness to re-purchase were all areas that required attention, he said in a statement on Thursday.

He added: "We had to take drastic action and intervene in many areas; changing procedures, systems (eg parts) and - in some cases - organisation, in order to increase our capacity to operate and to react to dealer and customer demands.

"A major change like this is bound to cause temporary problems but I am pleased to say that we're over most of our hiccups and a solid platform for growth has now been provided."

He said that the company would continue its product offensive and plans to bring new products to the market in 2006.

"We were known as 'the Uno, and the Palio' company, whereas now we are in the position to challenge competitors in many areas of the market," he said.

Alongside the 'pillars' of Fiat's brand - Palio II and Siena - it launched a number of models in 2005 including the Panda, car of the Year in Europe, Strada, which outsells the competition in Brazil by three to one, the Croma and the Ducato Minibus.

"In 2006 with the introduction of the Grande Punto and the Sedici (an all-new midi SUV) as well as some other very interesting new models, we will definitely become a reference in all the strategic areas of the market," he concluded.

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