This is being driven by an importer which has emerged after months of restructuring with its sights set on a return to profitable trading. And to achieve a profit in fleet, Cirencester-based Colt Car Co is steering the latest Carisma, and other products, away from low return daily rental and direct fleet deals and towards smaller operators and user-choosers through its expanding dealer network. Dealers, says Colt, are better placed than head office corporate sales staff to have direct contact with company car buyers. From now on, fleets wanting to talk business will, in general, be doing the talking closer to home, and in the case of the new Carisma, those talks will be about a range which has, like its importer, been slimmed down.
Where there used to be a total of 30 five-door and saloon models in the catalogue, with on-the-road prices from ú12,425 for a 1.6 GL manual to ú17,655 for a GDI 1.8 GLS automatic with full air conditioning and ABS, there are now just 11 - eight five-doors and three saloons. Prices start at ú12,995 and rise to ú18,945. GL, GLX and GLS model identifiers based on a price/function system have been dropped in favour of cost/class 'i' (entry 1.6i), Classic, Equippe, Sport and Elegance badges. Engine choice remains 1.6-litre 100bhp four-cylinder petrol, 1.8-litre 125bhp four-cylinder gasoline direct injection (GDI), and 1.9-litre 90bhp four-cylinder turbodiesel. Our test car, which has now joined the Fleet NewsNet long-term fleet, is a 1.8 GDI Sport - ú16,495 on-the-road and available only in five-door format.