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Barber bobs up in key new role for Tata Motors

New management: Tata returned to the fiercely competitive affordable ute sector, when it launched the Xenon late last year.

Former SsangYong chief joins Fusion Automotive in dealer development role for Tata

3 Jul 2014

TATA Motors distributor Fusion Automotive has appointed experienced industry executive Jeff Barber to the newly created position of national dealer development manager as the fledgling Indian brand expands its retail presence in Australia and aims to boost sales of the Xenon utility launched late last year.

Mr Barber has more than two decades’ experience working with motor vehicle distributors and retailers in Australia, including almost four years as general manager and director of Sime Darby SsangYong (from late-2008 to mid-2012) and the previous seven years as national dealer development manager for Peugeot Automobiles Australia.

He left Sime Darby to take up a new position as general manager/dealer principal at Sydney retailer, the Dominelli Group, shortly before the SsangYong franchise switched to Ateco Automotive and Citroen moved from Ateco to join sister brand Peugeot at Sime.

In recent months, Mr Barber has worked as a consultant at Fusion Automotive, which is part of the Walkinshaw Group that has Holden Special Vehicles and Walkinshaw Performance brands in its stable.

He will also serve as Tata’s regional manager for NSW and Queensland.

After launching in October last year with 15 Tata dealers, Fusion now has 24 retail outlets from which to sell the Xenon, a vehicle which has been limited by the unavailability of electronic stability control.

Earlier this year, the Xenon received a poor two-star (out of five) safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), with Fusion Automotive managing director Darren Bowler telling GoAuto that the situation should be resolved, and ESC fitted standard across the Xenon range, by mid-2014.

 center imageLeft: Fusion Automotive national dealer development manager Jeff Barber.

In announcing Mr Barber’s appointment, Mr Bowler said: “Having already established 24 Tata Motors dealerships since commencing operations only nine months ago, it is critical that we maintain that momentum into the second half of 2014 and Jeff’s appointment is the next logical step in that process.

“Jeff’s experience and reputation within the automotive industry is second to none. This combined with his knowledge of the light commercial market and an understanding of the unique challenges our growing dealer network face, makes him the perfect person for the role.

“Handing over the day-to-day responsibility of dealer development operations to Jeff allows us to further focus on developing the Tata Motors portfolio in Australia,” he said.

Earlier in his career, Mr Barber worked in a variety of roles for Ateco Automotive – including group logistics manager, NSW regional manager for Kia and national sales and marketing manager for Suzuki – and Inchcape Australia, which is responsible for the Subaru brand.

He also spent a year as business development manager for R L Polk Australia.

“Having worked with the Fusion Automotive team since November as a consultant, I am excited about joining the team long-term and I am looking forward to bringing my experience within dealerships and establishing manufacturers in Australia to Fusion Automotive,” he said.

“Developing new automotive businesses in Australia is a challenging yet rewarding experience and the Tata Motors brand is in an exciting phase with opportunities in both network growth and product developments already in the pipeline.”

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