Fleet News

Rivals react as Rover boosts 600/800 runout programme

ROVER has launched a massive dealer incentive programme to accelerate the runout of the 600 and 800, forcing other manufacturers to follow. Total margin support ranges from £3,000 on the Rover 618iS to £7,000 on the 800 Vitesse, as the company bids to minimise the sales overlap with the R75.

The incentives are not direct discounts, but a consolidation of all existing rewards and bonuses to help dealers stock the final models of both ranges. Production of the 800 has already finished, while the last 600 comes off the factory line next month. The support is not applicable to fleets which already have incentive schemes in place, but they are understood to enjoy similar terms.

Rover's runout initiative is indicative of an extremely competitive market, according to both Ford and Vauxhall, which have launched their own special deals to remain competitive. Ford's fleet marketing manager Nick Themistocleous, said: 'We are in an aggressive market place, and manufacturers are fighting hard in value and service. We are all feeling some underlying weakness in the economy which adds pressure when you are a volume marque.' Vauxhall's fleet operations director Bill Parfitt said: 'If other manufacturers launch tactical offers which attack our market place we will always move to protect our position. But we feel these actions are unnecessary and dangerous particularly with regard to residual values as these cars may be difficult to sell in three years' time.'

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