Fiat and Alfa Romeo Australia is looking at the potential for fixed-priced servicing as it seeks to substantially lift sales and expand its customer reach.
Speaking to CarAdvice at a Fiat Alfa Romeo event in Melbourne today, Fiat Chrysler CEO and Managing Director, Clyde Campbell, said he believes the potential for a fixed-price servicing program is there but it’s unlikely to be in the near future due to customer needs.
“We are looking at it, service contracts, fixed price servicing, but we are not rushing into it as customers have told us it’s not a necessity” Campbell told CarAdvice.
According to Campbell, Alfa Romeo and Fiat customers are more concerned with the reach of the service/dealer network and the pricing of the vehicles than a desire for fixed priced servicing or extended warranty offers.
He said customers are generally skeptical of extended warranties and fixed price servicing, which means it doesn’t play as big a part in the purchasing decision as would otherwise appear.
“Dealer network and more competitively priced. They were the two major things [customers wanted from us]”
The customer feedback explains today’s announcement of substantial price reductions for Fiat and Alfa Romeo, with a dealership expansion that has seen 29 new dealers added since May last year.
Veronica Johns, the Director of sales for Fiat Chrysler Australia, told CarAdvice that no fixed-priced servicing program was scheduled for near future.
“[We are] looking at some sort of servicing program, but not launching with anything for the next quarter.” Johns said.
The idea of providing extended warranty and fixed price servicing programs could potentially help persuade those worried about the two brand’s perceived quality issues.
In regards to the perception of unreliable Alfa Romeos and Fiat, Campbell said there’s no point denying the existence of such opinions but that the two brands are still very much loved.
“Alfa is a really strong brand because people remember the problems they had with the brand and love it for it. The good news is that modern Alfa’s don’t rust, modern Alfas done break down like the old Alfas did. They are made in facilities that are WCM (world class manufacturing) qualified, with WMC processes.”
He doesn’t believe the underlying poor reliability perception has detracted from customers buying the brand, with the issue in Australia more likely to have been the previous pricing structure and lack of dealership network – which has now been rectified.