Fiat signs London hire car deal

The deal comes as Fiat aims to take advantage of an 14.8 per cent increase in new car registrations to fleet customers in 2010, and will see the Fiat 500 city car and Alfa MiTo supermini used by Connect in London.

In total 170 cars will be used as hire cars for as little as one hour at a time around the capital before being rolled out elsewhere in the UK.

Owned by Hertz, Connect is one of the largest car-share organisations in the UK and provides a further example of the Italian manufacturing group’s desire to improve its fleet services in the UK market.

"The Connect arrangement fits very well into our fleet strategy and is a high-profile, exciting deal," says Andrew Humberstone, managing director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK and Ireland.

The deal will also improve sales of the Fiat 500 and Alfa Romeo MiTo, says Fiat. Customers wishing to buy the popular small cars after driving them will be able to at discounted rates.

The cars were chosen because of their style, driving dynamics and low-CO2 emissions – Fiat is one of only three manufacturers with average CO2 emissions of its range under 130g/km.

Alfa’s MultiAir engine technology means the Alfa MiTo offers sub-120g/km emissions, while Fiat has announced it will be introducing a revolutionary two-cylinder engine into the Fiat 500 range, bringing emissions below 100g/km to allow the car to qualify for zero road tax.

Paolo Lo Monaco, finance and business development director, Fiat Group Automobiles UK and Ireland said: "It (the deal) puts the Fiat 500 and Alfa MiTo right where we want them to be – in the hands of young, environmentally-conscious individuals who are free-thinking about the car they want to drive."

The scheme allows drivers to hire a Fiat 500 or Alfa MiTo for an hour or more using a pre-paid swipe card to unlock the vehicle.