Fleet News

Audi TT carves its own niche

'THE Audi TT has enjoyed a remarkable run of fortune. Launched in the UK in Coupe form early 1999, the Roadster was introduced in December of that year.

Since then, it has undergone very few changes and still looks as fresh as it did four years ago. As a fleet proposition, it has been stunningly successful in terms of disposal values and while there are now signs that prices are beginning to wane, this can not detract from the value TT has represented for so long.

With over 24,000 Coupes and 8,000 Roadsters sold since 1999, it has occupied something approaching a niche all of its own. Supply levels are now creeping up and my research among dealers reveals that many now have a few in stock when previously they rarely remained for long on the forecourt.

What will be interesting, is how the TT performs as this sector of the market hots up.

Things are about to become very competitive, as other manufacturers bid for success in this lucrative sector. New offerings, such as the Nissan 350Z, Chrysler Crossfire, Mazda RX-8 and the all-new Mercedes-Benz SLK will give customers a lot of extra choice.

However, these models will not be available for some time as used cars, so the TT will remain virtually unchallenged for a while longer.

Looking forward to a prosperous new year

Many dealers who favour the nearly-new market are struggling to buy stock. There are plenty of vehicles around, from a variety of sources such as dealers, brokers and cancelled fleet orders.

But three to-six-month-old stock is thin on the ground and even manufacturers' own vehicles are not as plentiful as they have been in the past.

Dealers are reporting that there are a good number of vehicles being deliberately kept out of the market until January, in the expectation that new year demand will bring rich returns.

For those fortunate enough to be able to hold vehicles, this is an attractive policy and represents a change to the old days of dumping late in the year.

Cars aged between six and 12 months, however, are not difficult to find as some of the rental companies now have stock to sell. But research suggests that many vehicles which do not sell over the next couple of weeks could find themselves put back on as rental cars for the Christmas period and will not re-appear until mid-January, when the market will have recovered.

Also playing its part in the shortage of nearly-new stock is the almost complete cessation of the parallel import market here. There are now no longer any financial gains to be made out of importing cars for profit.

All of these factors point towards a promising period for fleet professionals and a great opportunity to maximise returns on disposal.'

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