Fleet News

Vehicle choice: Nothing beats 'bums on seats' for assessing new cars

By Gianni Mason, client services director, Fusion-Events

Any successful fleet policy requires proper assessment of vehicles against clear cost, economy, performance, safety, technical and qualitative criteria.

However, given the technical complexity of today’s cars, properly evaluating the standout features of a new model can prove challenging and time-consuming.

Nothing beats putting ‘bums in seats’ so, as cars have become more sophisticated, manufacturer live brand experiences have become ever more important to highlight individual characteristics.

Reading or hearing about class-leading driving dynamics is one thing, experiencing them for yourself is quite another.

Closed circuit environments are ideal for specially-designed safety and technology experiences. Under such conditions, fleet drivers can fully appreciate the dynamics, handling, stability and agility of a new model.

In addition, individual course exercises can bring to life dry technical descriptors such as Volvo’s City Safety, full auto brake, lane keeping aid and park assist pilot.

Participants at experiential days leave with a fuller appreciation of a new model, which no amount of reading or viewing can replicate.

These days can generate real buzz and excitement for fleet buyers.

However, never have live experiences become more important than with the advent of the green revolution in the form of range-extender, hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrid electric and full-electric vehicles.

Vehicle manufacturers need to overcome anxieties relating to price, mileage range, SMR, residuals and recharging points.

Meanwhile, drivers need to be acquainted with the special driving characteristics of these disparate vehicles.

Hybrids, for example, need a different driving style to a conventional car to optimise their potential energy savings.

Electric vehicles are ideal for city dwellers. So there is little point in demonstrating their characteristics in a closed circuit environment.

On the contrary, take them to the heart of a city.

Create a short course to show off the major characteristics of an electric vehicle – instant, smooth power delivery from a standing start and regenerative braking – as a prelude to a fuller test drive.

Experiential live events play an important role in demonstrating to fleets the advanced technology available today.


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