How has it done this? Through being based in Guernsey, a 60,000-strong market that certainly seems to love its Fiats.
Le Mont Saint’s share is so large, it’s twice what Fiat manages in mainland Britain. What’s more, 2008’s figures to date represent a doubling on what the dealer sold throughout the entire of 2007.
‘This is far beyond what we expected, as we were looking to take 3 per cent of the market in Guernsey,’ said owner Dave Beausire. ‘We even saw our sales increase during the summer months, which is something that doesn’t normally happen.’
So what’s behind it all? Well, Guernsey residents haven’t been immune from the credit crunch. What’s more, they’ve also had to take on board a huge increase in fuel prices: the Government there has switched from a traditional road fund licence system, to an innovative scheme that adds extra duty on fuel.
And it’s here where the Fiat dealer has won through – with the 500 city car. Beausire has been canny. ‘As people were already downsizing at the end of ’07, we set out our objectives to promote the Fiat brand on the economical benefits and the popularity of the Fiat 500, to increase showroom traffic.’
What followed was a mix of advertising, promotions and direct marketing – with immediate results.
‘The arrival of the 500 had generated so much interest in the franchise as a whole that our footfall more than doubled.’ The success was overwhelming.
But he didn’t just focus attention on the 500, appreciating that it wouldn’t be for everyone. ‘Even without taking the 500 into account, we had an actual increase in sales.’
‘After the initial success we began selling by word of mouth. There are Fiats everywhere now…’
He is even positive when looking ahead. ‘Small, economical cars are the future. The current financial crisis has seen a slight slowdown, but we are confident that the market will steady and the demand for economical cars will continue in the New Year and beyond.’
With such market domination, you can’t really blame him…