Fleet News

Pressure from fleets puts drivers at risk

FLEET pressures lie at the heart of the poor showing by volume manufacturers in the 1998 JD Power UK Car Customer Satisfaction Study, and could be jeopardising the safety of company car drivers. Alan Pulham, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said manufacturers had cut repair and maintenance costs to the point where safety was being compromised.

'Manufacturers are under increasing pressure, mainly from fleet operators, to cut operating costs,' he said. 'This has led them firstly to extend to what I consider are unrealistic lengths the periods between services - then they have cut service standard times to the extent that dealers are forced to whistle cars through the procedures without building up the relationship with customers which is needed.'

This year JD Power measured the reaction of 29,000 drivers of N-reg models, who judged the Subaru Impreza to be the best car, followed by the Honda Prelude, Toyota Corolla, Skoda Felicia and Kia Mentor with 93 points. Fleet favourites such as the Ford Escort, Mondeo, and Scorpio, Rover 200, 400, 600 and 800, and Vauxhall Astra, Vectra and Omega, all finished below 73rd position in a table of 120 cars, with the Vectra - the best-selling car in its class in 1998 - bringing up the rear.

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