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Old 30-05-2018   #1
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Disappearing dealerships

What is Fiat doing to alienate its dealerships? Why are so many dealerships moving away from Fiat?

A year ago I bought a lovely new Panda Cross from a dealer in Worcester and took out a service plan. The dealer promptly dropped Fiat a month or two later. So I have just travelled a 50 mile round trip to the Fiat dealer in Hereford. I was told as I was leaving that they are dropping the Fiat dealership side of their business in the next month or so. When I asked why, they said it was because of the way Fiat treat their dealers (?). They added that the dealership in Gloucester was closing as well! At this rate I will be having to book overnight in a hotel to be able to travel far enough to reach a dealer!

So what is Fiat doing that is so bad that dealers are turning to other manufacturers for their business. Can anyone out there shed any light on this, and is it just in the UK West Midlands that this is happening ?
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Old 30-05-2018   #2
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

Quote Originally Posted by MuddyPaws View Post
What is Fiat doing to alienate its dealerships? Why are so many dealerships moving away from Fiat?

A year ago I bought a lovely new Panda Cross from a dealer in Worcester and took out a service plan. The dealer promptly dropped Fiat a month or two later. So I have just travelled a 50 mile round trip to the Fiat dealer in Hereford. I was told as I was leaving that they are dropping the Fiat dealership side of their business in the next month or so. When I asked why, they said it was because of the way Fiat treat their dealers (?). They added that the dealership in Gloucester was closing as well! At this rate I will be having to book overnight in a hotel to be able to travel far enough to reach a dealer!

So what is Fiat doing that is so bad that dealers are turning to other manufacturers for their business. Can anyone out there shed any light on this, and is it just in the UK West Midlands that this is happening ?
There are two dealers in this area who previously sold Fiats, but no longer do so. Whether a coincidence or not, both also sell Kia and Nissan. Maybe it's something to do with other manufacturers offering bigger profits as Fiats are IMHO good value, cheaper type cars. (I have 2 Pandas). Good for the consumer but not for the dealer?

"Follow the money".
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Old 30-05-2018   #3
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

If agree with what was said above
Likely because they have small profit margins
Also apart from the 500 family fist don't really have any other well known cars
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Old 30-05-2018   #4
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

Blame it on Sergio

gr J
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Old 30-05-2018   #5
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

The way Fiat corporate integrates contracts for employees on both sales and service sides of the business is pretty poor compared to other brands (at least here in Turkey). Basically, salespeople work on commission and have quotas. If they don't meet their quotas, they get replaced, so basically dealers never have experienced salespeople and those who manage to stick through it are being paid low wages + whatever they can grab off the top of a sale.

For the service side, the people responsible for checking the cars into service get their pays cut every time a customer gives anything less than 10/10 on the post-service survey, even if it has nothing to do with them (like the technicians failing to fix the problem). The technicians and mechanics themselves I've only had meager opportunities to talk with, but other than the young lad that usually fixes my car, I've never seen any of the even smile, and most of the time conversations between them are about things that need to be done on vehicles (basically no small-talk or niceties amongst each other either).
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Old 31-05-2018   #6
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

@ambient white I assume you mean Rayrigg's 2 dealerships. My nearest dealers an hour away but as both my TA 4x4's been perfect engine wise am not too worried.
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Old 31-05-2018   #7
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

Nothing new here.

I've been with Fiats, Fiat dealers (as a customer) for 44+ years and as ever and always with Fiat the challenge is:

1) finding a decent dealer especially for servicing (and preferably local)
2) building that relationship where you both know how to treat each other especially that they respect any technical knowledge and experience of Fiats you have
3) hoping the dealer survives

I read/think this is what actually happens

1) Fiats sales compared to other manufacturers in the UK only account for less than 5%
2) With big established franchises with far higher % sales why would they want to take on Fiat
3) Fiat need to get outlets/franchises so a prime option is to locate a small and successful independent garage (in a dealer sparse area) and sales talk them, with finance and support, to becoming a Fiat dealer
4) This works well for the once independent, they have built a reputation etc. and then want to carry on growing.
5) Grow at 2% of market share? Not really going to happen so they switch to some other brand
6) Cycle repeats

Very occasionally a big national chain takes on the Fiat brand but often do not last. Either they get sacked by Fiat or they milk Fiat for investment, hang out their contracts, and then walk away with money and customers in the bank!

Recently had my local trusted (smaller) Fiat dealer quit my area (to focus on their other site) as they did not want to be squeezed between bigger national dealers either side of their location.

I'm not impressed with what replaced them. Some of the remaining staff are fine, many left, but the big franchise/dealer management brought in are absolutely a bunch of ...........

This is so sad.

And before anybody mentions the customer feedback surveys I have a heart and care for those that served me well before the dealership takeover change. If I zero rate then guess who get fired. Not the management but the poor sods who were excellent prior to management change and are now "under the thumb" of dicks who just do not understand Fiat customers.

If I earned 100,000+ a year, or 30,000 to 50,000 with a company car then I suspect 90%+ in this window would just aspire to "drive up - fix it - I'll be replacing it next year anyway".

Us Fiat drivers (especially here on FF) are far more discerning, care about out cars, care about how we are treated and respected and expect to be treated and respected accordingly.

My personal views, based on 44+ years of Fiat ownership!
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Old 31-05-2018   #8
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

Quote Originally Posted by s130 View Post
Nothing new here.

I've been with Fiats, Fiat dealers (as a customer) for 44+ years and as ever and always with Fiat the challenge is:

1) finding a decent dealer especially for servicing (and preferably local)
2) building that relationship where you both know how to treat each other especially that they respect any technical knowledge and experience of Fiats you have
3) hoping the dealer survives

I read/think this is what actually happens

1) Fiats sales compared to other manufacturers in the UK only account for less than 5%
2) With big established franchises with far higher % sales why would they want to take on Fiat
3) Fiat need to get outlets/franchises so a prime option is to locate a small and successful independent garage (in a dealer sparse area) and sales talk them, with finance and support, to becoming a Fiat dealer
4) This works well for the once independent, they have built a reputation etc. and then want to carry on growing.
5) Grow at 2% of market share? Not really going to happen so they switch to some other brand
6) Cycle repeats

Very occasionally a big national chain takes on the Fiat brand but often do not last. Either they get sacked by Fiat or they milk Fiat for investment, hang out their contracts, and then walk away with money and customers in the bank!

Recently had my local trusted (smaller) Fiat dealer quit my area (to focus on their other site) as they did not want to be squeezed between bigger national dealers either side of their location.

I'm not impressed with what replaced them. Some of the remaining staff are fine, many left, but the big franchise/dealer management brought in are absolutely a bunch of ...........

This is so sad.

And before anybody mentions the customer feedback surveys I have a heart and care for those that served me well before the dealership takeover change. If I zero rate then guess who get fired. Not the management but the poor sods who were excellent prior to management change and are now "under the thumb" of dicks who just do not understand Fiat customers.

If I earned 100,000+ a year, or 30,000 to 50,000 with a company car then I suspect 90%+ in this window would just aspire to "drive up - fix it - I'll be replacing it next year anyway".

Us Fiat drivers (especially here on FF) are far more discerning, care about out cars, care about how we are treated and respected and expect to be treated and respected accordingly.

My personal views, based on 44+ years of Fiat ownership!
Great post and Thank You. As a recent convert to Fiat I wish I'd tried them earlier other than the mass brands. As I suggested earlier, the dealers who give up on Fiat are missing a trick but as is the way these days in most things, money is the sole driver of these people, the customer is at the bottom of their priorities.
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Old 31-05-2018   #9
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

Quote Originally Posted by Al D View Post
@ambient white I assume you mean Rayrigg's 2 dealerships. My nearest dealers an hour away but as both my TA 4x4's been perfect engine wise am not too worried.
Yes, Rayrigg. But my experience of another Fiat dealer In Lancashire is that they too have little interest in selling a Fiat other than on their terms i.e. extras, list or close to price. Otherwise they will try and sell you one of their more profitable other brands.

In the end I used the Internet to buy and a local trusted garage for service and will do so again. If your TA is fine then yes, stick with it, use a local bod and "hard luck" Fiat but they really need to sort it for the better.
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Old 31-05-2018   #10
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

Quote Originally Posted by ambient white View Post
money is the sole driver of these people, the customer is at the bottom of their priorities.
Money is just part of the whole issue. Attitude and respect, trust your customer to advise you, etc. etc.

Worse still in my new local dealer the after sales manager is running to his own or company prescribed script and despite knowing I've been not only a technical registrar for several official Fiat clubs but also a trusted technical product engineering reporting source back into Fiat UK over many years (but not recently) I'm still treated as a nobody.

It hurst and it hurts bad.!
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Old 01-06-2018   #11
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

i think I can top the poll for length of Fiat driving - bought my first Fiat - an early 500A Topolino - in 1966. I've had mixed experiences of garages over the years with 30 or so Fiats (plus a few Alfas and Lancias) - mostly good with small indies - Richard Huzzey in Newbury initially and Mid Devon Motors for the last 25 years - awful time with short-lived Taunton main dealer some years back, not too bad now with Vospers in Exeter after a very rocky period with their predecessor Sidwell Street Motors - salesman with scant respect for the truth, gearbox mounting bolts of Tipo Tds finger-tight after some warranty work; Sanders at Milton Damerel are (or were?) service only agents and have been pretty good, though I haven't used them for a few years.

In general my Fiats have been very reliable, though they have been relatively carefully looked after and I insist (gently - ish) on talking to whoever is responsible for maintaining my cars.
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Old 01-06-2018   #12
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

Quote Originally Posted by babbo_umbro View Post
In general my Fiats have been very reliable, though they have been relatively carefully looked after and I insist (gently - ish) on talking to whoever is responsible for maintaining my cars.
Same for me. I get to know the technician and I tip him/her (never had a lay tech yet). It can also help to turn up in one of your own much older impeccably maintained excellent condition cars. They all then you know your stuff and will pick up on sub standard work.
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Old 02-06-2018   #13
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

They're either having companies give up the franchise, are taking the franchise off of them or the dealers are going bust, as far as I can see.

Richard Cort in Bury went bust late last year, the Bristol Street dealerships in Newcastle, Derby, Cheltenham and now Worcester have gone for one reason or another (though Newcastle & Derby have been replaced), Wessex Gloucester I thought had long gone but perhaps not just yet and now Hartwell Hereford are going.

My concern is that both Wessex and Hartwell have other dealerships (in Newport and Abingdon & Dunstable respectively) - will these also go, just like all the Bristol Street ones did?

We used to have a small but attentive servicing dealership in Oxfordshire called Mellors of Challow, but no other Fiat dealer representation in the county. A few years after Hartwell Abingdon opened, Mellors became just a regular used car dealership, no longer Fiat approved. If Hartwell go then that'll leave us with small Fiat dealer in Banbury (Jaybee Motors) or a trip to TH White in Swindon. I read in one of the car mags about vast numbers of car dealerships shutting in the next couple of years. Fiat are definitely doing their bit for these statistics. It's a similar picture with Alfa Romeo - 6 have gone or are going this year so far
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Old 06-06-2018   #14
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

Quote Originally Posted by JTD_Liam View Post
We used to have a small but attentive servicing dealership in Oxfordshire called Mellors of Challow, but no other Fiat dealer representation in the county.
I was in Wantage (1974-1978) and remember Mellors of Challow very well. From all my experiences with them they were what you wanted and could trust them.

It is coming to the stage where when buying new one has to use one of those sites which sort the best deal for you and then from there on you use your local dealer OR your local VAT registered dealer to take you forward.

This type of approach/business can not really be in Fiat's UK wide business where customers are left to mix, match, tolerate, fume at, and say never again Fiat!

Us Fiat lovers know different but Fiat UK need vast numbers of satisfied customers to survive and sadly they are not getting them possibly due to their own stupid ignorance of what really drives Fiat / Italian car customers.

Maybe our next car (me and Mrs) will be a Ford, NO!!!! not a Ford bucket of bits but a "Mustang". Don't know why but with 45+ years (90+ jointly) the Mustang has, for whatever reason, been that alternative to a Fiat.
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Old 06-06-2018   #15
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Re: Disappearing dealerships

Quote Originally Posted by s130 View Post
Don't know why but with 45+ years (90+ jointly) the Mustang has, for whatever reason, been that alternative to a Fiat.
That's decidedly yin and yang!

I hired a Mustang Convertible in California a while back. Poop, poop!
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