Fleet News

Car launches and facelifts promise competitive 1999

MORE than 100 new cars and facelifts are expected to be launched in 1999, promising more choice and competitive deals for fleets. The big two car makers - Ford and Vauxhall - will be the main centre of attention as they continue to slug it out in the lower-medium sector by rolling out new saloon variants of their Focus and Astra respectively. Ford is also launching the new Focus estate.

It is a vital year for the success of Rover, with the new 75 going on sale, holding the fortunes of the group in its hands as it represents massive investment from parent BMW. Key launches are also coming from Jaguar, with the S-type and Lexus, with the IS200 as they enter new territory with smaller models aimed at territory dominated by Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Despite continuing gloomy news on fleet diesel sales car makers such as Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are showing their faith in the future of the fuel, with the launch of common rail engines, taking on cars from more traditional diesel supporters including Peugeot and Citroen. There is a noticeable new appearance of liquefied petroleum gas options on many launch lists, including Ford, Volvo and Citroen as manufacturers join Vauxhall in providing alternative fuel models for growing demand from fleets looking to go green.

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