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Fiat Doblo tailored for local tradies’ needs

Commercial break: The Fiat Doblo is set to challenge the dominance of the Volkswagen Caddy in Australia's light-van segment next year.

Extensive market research should ensure Doblo's success: Fiat Professional

5 Dec 2014

FIAT Professional says the all-new Doblo light van has a strong chance of succeeding in Australia because the company has completed its homework and knows what buyers want and need.

On sale in Australia in the first week of January from $22,000, plus on-road costs, the Turkish-built, Punto-based front-drive workhorse only received the green light for sale here after undergoing extensive market research into Australian consumer habits.

Part of this process included ensuring that the dealer body is in place to handle sales and service enquiries, after Fiat Professional identified this as one of the biggest decision-making processes in the light-van market.

Fiat Professional director of sales Bob Graczyk said the company focused its research to ensure the Doblo would succeed.

“(For it to work in Australia) the Doblo has to be very targeted and very focused and it has to be present where consumers live, work and play,” he said.

“So we undertook extensive research… and will get the message out via magazine, radio and outdoor/mobile advertising.

“We wanted to make sure we had full coverage nationwide (before launching)… so we are currently at 50 dealers and that is going to go up a little more next year in areas where we feel we need a little more coverage.” The four-decade ex-Chrysler Corporation marketing veteran revealed that the ongoing segment domination of the Doblo’s main rival, the Volkswagen Caddy, helped prompt Fiat Professional management to challenge the status quo.

“In any market where there’s a clear leader we believe there’s always room to come in,” Mr Grazer said.

“We have a very compelling offering which offers more – dual sliding doors, segment-leading payload capacity… so we’re coming with a strong value alternative.” Last year the German-branded van captured nearly 63 per cent of the segment in Australia with 1915 units sold, and is on track to match that result again in 2014 despite a strong showing from the facelifted Renault Kangoo, which has doubled its sales year-on-year to the end of November for a 20.3 per cent slice of the pie.

While Fiat Professional declined to divulge any sales targets, it expects the base 1.4-litre manual variant to be the most popular.

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