Since launching 20,000-mile service intervals on its range in August 1998, Peugeot has seen servicing costs plummet - to the extent that the Peugeot 406 2.0 LX saloon is now cheaper to service over three years/60,000 miles than a Ford Fiesta 1.4 Zetec.
The figures are revealed in an in-depth examination of vehicles from 1999's top-25 selling fleet model ranges in The Lex Fleet 2000 Report, produced in association with Fleet News. It shows that three of the five cheapest to run vehicles on Lex Vehicle Leasing's 90,000-plus fleet were Peugeots, taking into account service intervals, parts prices and labour times over three years/60,000 miles on full maintenance contracts.
The 406 costs £301.72 to service over three years while the equivalent Ford Mondeo 2.0LX five-door costs £476.24 over the same period and a Vauxhall Vectra 2.0iLS five-door costs £470.90.
Speculation is mounting that Ford will offer extended service intervals with the new Mondeo, which is launched later this year and Audi has already moved the goalposts even further with service intervals of up to 30,000 miles on its vehicles. Toyota's Avensis is the latest model in the firm's range to offer 20,000-mile servicing, compared to 9,000 miles for the old model.
In the wake of the Supply of New Cars Order, vehicle makers are reconsidering their approach to fleet discounts and running costs could become the key negotiating factor
John Taylor, Peugeot's fleet and leasing director, said: 'Inevitably, this will force the major fleet players into extending their service intervals. Otherwise fleet buyers will see that a rival car is £450 cheaper over three years/60,000 miles for servicing and demand an extra discount on the price, which the manufacturer may not want to provide any more following the Government's Supply of New Cars Order 2000.