Both companies have strong fleet operations, both compete in mature markets, both have similar market shares at about the 20% mark and both share the 'consumer trust' advantage that arises from an long history and extensive dealer network. Idea sharing between the two countries is frequent, and Holden's experience of building its brand through emphasising its market leadership, Australian roots and performance driving capabilities links neatly with Vauxhall's commitment to infuse its brand with sporting, aspirational values.
This will see marketing establish a clear progression from Vauxhall's mainstream cars, through SRi variants to turbo, coupe and cabriolet models, right up to the extreme performance of the VX220. Adding lustre to the brand should benefit Vauxhall in both the fleet and retail arenas, and while Wale refused to specify targets for total sales or his ideal mix between fleet and retail business, he emphasised strong ambitions for the manufacturer.
'We want to increase our share of the retail market and keep our share of the fleet market, and I will not give away fleet share to get our ratios right,' he said. Currently about 65% of Vauxhall cars are acquired by fleets, with a further significant proportion bought by small businesses. An increase in retail new car sales would indicate that Vauxhall is succeeding in its bid to boost its brand, and should go hand-in-hand with higher residual values as demand for Vauxhall product increases among used car buyers. Wale made specific reference of the importance to fleets of residual values and wholelife costs, and said he had been very impressed by the fleet department. 'It's got a good focus on the different elements of the fleet sector, a good understanding of residual value management and wholelife costs, and good customer relationships,' he said.