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Iveco Daily grows in size and numbers

Daily driver: The Daily arrived in Australia last year and has helped lift the Italian commercial brand's sales in the past 12 months.

Italian truck maker Iveco is determined to build on the 2015 foundations this year

5 Feb 2016

ITALIAN commercial-vehicle manufacturer Iveco is kicking off the year with additions to the off-road side of its range and it is targeting a sales volume jump in the realm of 18 per cent for 2016.

After what it calls a “solid” sales performance last year, the CNH Industrial-owned (part of the Fiat empire) brand says it is aiming to build on the momentum it had at the end of last year with the addition – and adequate supply – of the new Daily van and cab-chassis range.

Iveco Australia marketing manager Darren Swenson said last year was a period of consolidation for the brand as it built momentum for 2016 with a number of new marketing plans to come.

“2015 was the year of consolidation, as well as the amalgamation with CNH,” he said. “The first part of 2015 was consolidation and then the second half was starting momentum for 2016,” he said.

Iveco’s head of corporate affairs Ron Grasso said the new Daily van, launched in May last year, took some time to gain traction in the competitive Australian commercial-van market.

“In the second half of the year it was building … we're not there yet but we're kind of understanding where the opportunities are and 2016 will be a year of opportunity,” he said.

According to official VFACTS sales figures, Iveco finished 2015 with 1581 sales, which was a slight drop from the 1587 sold the previous year.

The company performed well in most of the segments it has an offering when compared with 2014, with sales of the light-duty van up 66.7 per cent to 105 units, a seven per cent lift for the light-duty cab-chassis to 764 units, while the heavy-duty range grew by 57.6 per cent to 588 sales.

Its overall tally was let down by the medium-duty segment which dropped by 71.6 per cent to 124 units, a significant slide from 2014's haul of 437.

When asked about Iveco's growth targets for this year, both Mr Swensen and Mr Grasso chewed over the question and eventually nominate a target of 18 per cent growth over 2015’s tally.

The Italian commercial vehicle-maker says it is aiming to grow in the key area of specialist-vehicle sales.

“The fleet side of the business has a specialist vehicle salesman for the emergency services because now we have a product that can appeal to them, the 4x4 and the Daily Van, as well as the medium trucks for fire and rescue with (fellow CNH Industrial company) specialist body builder Magirus,” Mr Grasso said.

Iveco is also examining the Australian defence force market closely but is aware of the Mercedes-Benz presence in the area, and its likely strong defence of its turf.

The brand's executive team has recently concluded its dealer conference and maintains the dealers are happy with the plans for Australia which the pair didn’t explain in detail, only revealing that it made some “serious commitments” to the dealer group about investment and support.

“The feedback has been 'what's in it for us? What are we going to get' and there were some serious commitments made to the dealer network over the last 48 hours about supporting them in a way they haven't seen for a long time – more involvement on the ground and addressing any issues that may arise in a more timely fashion than has been the case for the last decade to be honest,” Mr Grasso said.

“I can't divulge much more than this but there will be some significant announcements over the next six months from our point of view which I think will give more reason for existing dealers to reinvest or open additional outlets,” he said.

Among the new marketing campaigns is an expansion of the brand’s involvement in Red Bull Racing Australia, maintaining its team transport supplier status but expanding to include signage on Craig Lowndes’ new Team Vortex car.

The brand is also upping it involvement with Team Maranello to include car branding and it has plans to make promotional use of drivers Tony D’Alberto and Grant Denyer.

Iveco has 25 full-line dealers and a network of service centres, but Mr Grasso is clear on the need for a network expansion.

Former motorcycle champion Daryl Beattie’s off-road adventure company will now also use an Iveco EuroCargo 4x4 as its official vehicle, giving the brand further opportunities to promote the new Daily 4x4 in that sphere when it arrives mid-year.

“One of the things Iveco needs to do to reinvigorate the brand and rebuild trust in the marketplace is to expand and broaden that network, clearly that's too small,” Mr Grasso said.

“Ideally if you were to double that number is where it needs to sit as a minimum. In 2016 there will be announcements throughout the year that work towards that kind of objective and I think this year will be a significant year for that network,” he added.

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