The top three fleet models last month were the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and the Ford Fiesta.
Mention the sporty, two-seater Mazda MX-5 and it’s a different story. Since I’ve been testing our long-termer friends have raised eyebrows at its suitability as a fleet car. But almost 1,500 models have been sold to fleet this year.
I’ve now clocked up several thousand miles and although it may not be as practical or economical as a typical fleet car, I think its style and handling outweigh any impracticalities.
I’ve had more comments turning up to meetings in the MX-5 than most cars that I have tested for Fleet News and in business, image is important.
To get an idea of what kind of fleet and company car driver opts for the MX-5 I took at trip down to Cambridge to visit Tony Leigh, fleet manager at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
Mr Leigh looks after 3,600 company cars and 600 partner vehicles. He has 400 MX-5s on his fleet which allows any employee to run a company car from a list of any vehicle except for pick-up trucks. He has ordered 94 new MX-5s this year.
“The MX-5 has always been popular on the fleet as it is well priced and we haven’t had any problems with them.
“We find that by offering a flexible car policy to employees it attracts people to the scheme and the great thing about offering vehicles such as the MX-5 is that they tend to come back in really good condition at the end of their contract.
“Employees tend to look after a vehicle more if it is something they actually want to drive and not something they have been given as a company car.”
But why do drivers choose an MX-5? Amanda Wood, secretary/PA, said: “I’ve been running the MX-5 1.8 soft-top for just over a year now and it is my third MX-5 company car. I choose it because of the price but I love everything about it.
“I probably do about 13,000 miles a year but even if this went up to more than 20,000 I wouldn’t swap it. The style and handling are fantastic, it’s a lovely drive and is very comfortable.
“If the MX-5 was not on the company car list, I would not have joined the scheme.
“The only negative aspects are that the driver’s seat is not height- adjustable and I can’t fit my holiday luggage into the boot.”
Price: £21,265 (£21,590 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 193
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £86 per month
Insurance group: 13
Combined mpg: 34.5
Test mpg: 36.2
CAP Monitor RV: £8,325/40%
Contract hire rate: 407
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles