Special training for Fiat dealers

Frankfurt. Fiat has lowered its German sales target for the year 4.4 percent to 111,100 units.

Fiat Automobil AG CEO Klaus Fricke believes there will only be a further 86,000 new registrations the balance of the year. Fricke also expects to sell only 19,600 Alfa Romeos instead of the original 2003 goal of 21,500 and only 5,500 Lancias instead of 7,650.

Fricke said the move is because of the depressed German economy. He has reduced his estimate of German new-car sales by 200,000 units since the first of the year to 3.24 million.

"In our opinion return on investment is more important than volume," Fricke said of his strategy.

But Fricke said recruiting new dealers is going well. Since March, Fiat has received 32 serious applications after a nationwide advertisement campaign. Fiat plans to add 60 Fiat dealers by October.

Fiat also is starting a large-scale, two-year "dealer qualification program" in Germany in cooperation with Roland Berger management consulting. The aim of this is to increase dealers' sales and profitability.

This year Fiat is investing 15 million euros in its education system - 200 percent more than in 2002. The dealer training will be extended from 1,500 days to 4,000 days and the number of participants will be increased from 2,500 to 4,000.

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