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Iveco on the march

Hourly, Daily: More variants of the new Daily van, including all-wheel drive versions, will roll out in the coming years to create wider appeal for Iveco in Australia.

A network revamp and new product key to Iveco gaining Australian ground

1 May 2015

ITALIAN commercial vehicle manufacturer Iveco is looking to improve its sales in Australia's competitive market through a broader range and a growing profile, as it battles the well-known names in the segment.

The influx of promising new product at the lighter end of the commercial vehicle world from Iveco has new Australian managing director Michael Jonson looking forward to increased brand awareness Down Under.

Speaking with GoAuto at the launch of the Daily van range in Victoria this week, Mr Jonson said he has confidence in the new Daily van range, and that there is already strong interest in it.

“We need to get people driving it,” he said. “We had a lot of conquest and current customers who are enthusiastic, we sold all the drive day demo cars to the dealers and that's a good outcome.

“Now it’s about how we place it, market it correctly into the right applications, not overselling it - but it will sell itself.”

The Iveco brand has flown under the radar in Australia, unless you were looking for large trucks, but Mr Jonson said the availability of an automatic transmission will boost interest, and is likely to encompass 75 per cent of overall Daily sales.

The incoming four-wheel drive variant will be sent to Australia for testing and validation in the next few months and will give the company a foundation to raise the brand’s profile here when it goes on sale early next year.

There are currently 46 Iveco retail outlets in Australia – 27 of which are full-line dealers – and there are changes coming to the way the network sells its vehicles.

The new MD (this is his sixth month in the job) is keen to redevelop the “dedicated” dealer network to improve the structure for light-commercial sales, giving them the chance to sell both light and heavy duty Iveco vehicles if they so choose.

“We’re working through this with them as it takes a lot of investment … I want to do the right thing by the network,” he said.

Plans are in play to increase that number by 16 by the end of next year, with the type of dealerships – light vehicles only or full-range dealers – yet to be determined.

Also still in the pipeline is a new marketing strategy, but a more aggressive tone is a certainty, said Mr Jonson.

“We have good products and I think we can take a stronger approach on how we market it, but I wouldn't divulge much more than that.”“It's been a weakness in the past and I don't intend to leave it at that in the future,” he said.

Expect further partnerships along similar lines to the 888 Red Bull Racing deal as its official carrier – “we're looking for that right kind of partnership, there's no official deal done yet, but we're down to under a handful” and an announcement sometime in the third quarter of this year.

While the brand is moving aggressively to find new conquests in the fleet market – emergency services, mining and national parks among the targets – the 4WD model’s suitability for the motorhome market is an area of potential.

“The motorhome segment is probably one of the most underestimated growth segments at the moment, it used to be the retirees but it's moving down to younger families looking to do travelling holidays,” he said.

“I certainly want to expand the 4x4 range, there's scope there – the product is awesome and access to the automatic opens it up again,” he added.

Mr Jonson, is new to the Iveco stable but has been part of the CNH Industrial parent company for 18 years and is keen to see the Iveco brand move to a better position in the marketplace.

“My view is if you don't validate your product properly, if you don't make sure that the quality that you are putting out in the market isn't where it needs to be, then you have brand issues.”“That's where I'm really intently focussed on improving things – yes, there might have been some historic things where we could have done a lot better, that's not the case anymore,” he said.

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