We work with manufacturers on launch plans, badging and specification issues, often seeing and driving cars months in advance of official launch.
We spend much time at auctions, with the leasing industry and at rental company disposal sites. We talk to dealers, both franchise and non-franchise, and sometimes when I look back on a typical week it's hard to remember where I was just a couple of days before.
To illustrate, so far this year I've been on 71 aeroplanes and three helicopters, slept in 45 different hotels and been through the Eurotunnel three times. I've been a corporate guest at football matches, ridden in a horse-drawn carriage and sailed in a Sunseeker boat.
The black tie has come out for six dinners in London, I've attended 32 vehicle launches, 10 factory visits and 47 auctions, where these days I'm tempted to don trilby and dark glasses in an effort not to be recognised. To the office-bound no doubt this sounds like fun, but I must add that I had no rounds of golf and attended no Grands Prix.
However, I have been a passenger with Stirling Moss in the famous 1955 Mille Miglia-winning Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR and with Juan Pablo Montoya in a BMW M5, as well as Toni Gardemeister in a Skoda Octavia World Rally Car – all events connected in some way with building and maintaining relationships with key industry players with whom we work daily.
So the information keeps flowing. This year our New Vehicle Data department has had 1,956 cars, 644 vans, 1,215 trucks and 551 motorbikes added or deleted from the database.
Our used vehicle editors and researchers have handled more than 1.2 million pieces of sold vehicle information from auctions, dealers and disposers. We have handled about 500 enquiries for additional information each week. It is a huge undertaking but I have to say that I have enjoyed every minute of my part in contributing to the whole process this year.
And finally, there are the 50 Fleet NewsNet columns I've written this year. Here's wishing you a Happy Christmas and a busy, successful new year.