Fleet News

Downsizing causing a bizarre new trend

'MANUFACTURERS are constantly producing smaller vehicles, but with larger interiors offering a more lifestyle-friendly package with added comfort.

Altogether, it is a better way to travel in style, particularly with the added economy benefits of using economical engines.

This all adds up to the way of the future. This new breed of smaller cars are targeted, in many cases, at the 34-year-old male or female, as manufacturers are keen to see this age group in their trendy new cars.

However, there is a definite migration by people of all ages towards downsizing, so those in upper-medium vehicles move down to medium and those in medium move into the smaller end of the market. This migration raises the question of what will happen to all those upper-medium saloon cars that risk being left unloved on the auction floor?

Well, help is at hand. As this end of the market suffers, then prices get lower and the prices suddenly become affordable to younger drivers who used to only be able to afford a smaller vehicle.

The result is that, probably against the marketeers' wishes, older drivers end up in their trendy new small cars, while younger drivers are tempted to try something larger that they couldn't previously afford.

Dent removal magic

I SPENT a few hours last week with a self-employed 'dent removal' man. I have seen their skill being put to good use many times before, but in 'unreal' circumstances, where a show was being put on, instead of in a real-life situation.

This time, the paintless dent removal firm in question was asked to sort out a few dents on some late-plate MPVs that had been sitting in the compound for a number of weeks, with very little interest from the trade.

As they were lined up, ready to be repaired, they did look pretty sad.

All had dents on the doors, mainly caused by car park damage, from either other car doors being opened onto them, or collisions with supermarket trolleys.

Our man quickly put his tools down the door skin and skilfully pushed out the dents, without causing any paint damage.

After a couple of hours these unsaleable vehicles were transformed into good stock.

It is difficult to estimate how much value it puts on a vehicle. It is the saleability that counts and no value can be put on that in pound-coin terms.

The engineer had his favourite dents to work on and some he saw as 'more of a challenge' for different reasons.

One manufacturer uses particularly thin metal, so damage happens much more easily, but although they are more difficult to repair, they are a regular source of work.

One other manufacturer that has always sold on safety issues is also a problem for him, as the side impact bars and the way they are constructed make it more difficult to work with.

Despite the difficulty in repairing some cars, these repairers are now an accepted part of the industry and they can make a shabby, abused used car look very presentable.'

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