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Be there for best bids

SIR – The observation by the Retail Motor Industry Federation’s Alistair Manson claiming reserve prices at auctions are being set at CAP Clean by many fleets, regardless of condition, was interesting (Fleets must adjust price expectations, Fleet NewsNet, September 30).
This is very often a method of attracting the best bid possible at sale time, knowing full well it will not make CAP Clean. Thus the auction then has to contact the company with a provisional bid, so the company can haggle to get a higher price. This is all well and good, but what those fleets are really doing is working around the need to attend the auction.
We practise what we call active rostrum management, working alongside the auctioneer on the rostrum. From there we can see how competitive the bidding is, how many buyers are seriously interested in the car, what condition the car is – in fact, all of the necessary ingredients to effectively sell the car.
Serious buyers prefer rostrum attendance too, because they know it means they can buy a car and not have to wait, sometimes for days, for acceptance of a provisional bid.

David Woods
XBG Fleet Remarketing

Excess payments can be fair

SIR – I have to respond to Stewart Whyte’s Helpline on a request from a firm to a recently-left employee for a £250 excess (Fleet News, September 30). We have a similar system on our policy. Each driver has to complete a driver’s form, which includes a part saying that if they are involved in an ‘own-fault’ accident, we would expect them to pay the £250 excess.
We added this as we had a poor accident record at the time and were advised to do so by our insurers.
This also applies to any additional drivers and appears on their forms. I have had many occasions where drivers have not read the contents.
This could be the case of the gentleman referred to in Helplines. I had a case last week where we insured a hire van and the additional driver filled in the form and signed it, but had not read the contents.
The van came back with a minor scrape (own-fault) and the driver was appalled to learn I would be expecting her to pay the excess. It is not necessarily the company trying to make money from the employee.
However, I do not agree with them trying to get back loss of no-claims bonus, as one incident shouldn’t make any difference to their policy.

Name and address withheld

Pressure is on to find inflation rates

SIR – As managing director of a company operating a fleet of approximately 50 mixed vehicle types, I have been pushing my management team to improve our parameters for daily driver defect checks including tyres, oil and water.
We looked to include optimum tyre pressures, with specific details for each vehicle, but have been unsuccessful in finding a source of information to assist us in this area. Can you point us in the right direction or advise a common point of reference?

Karen Diggle
Managing director, Chamberlain Doors

Ed – Tyre pressures are normally stated in the vehicle handbook, often inside the fuel filler cover and should be available from the tyre producers if manufacturers cannot help

Autobahn rules are way to go

SIR – With reference to the debate on lane hogging, are you not missing the point? Drivers stay in the middle lanes because of the irresponsible driving of those in high-speed cars with little or no regard for other road users.
What is the point of going into the nearside lane when you know that these thick and selfish individuals will, upon you indicating to come out to overtake, accelerate to make sure you do not get in their way?
You are then trapped, as the five other idiots travelling too close behind have exactly the same idea.
To cure this, adopt German autobahn rules. Make it the legal responsibility of cars behind to give way to motorists indicating to come out and use cameras and traffic police to make sure they do. Back this up with large fines for a first offence, compulsory retraining before being allowed back onto the road for a second and year’s ban for a repeat offence.
Our roads will become clearer and safer as current rules will be obeyed and lanes left open to traffic flow. If we adopted this procedure, it would also leave the way open to revise our rules for entering trunk roads, as motorists will be able to safely move over to allow traffic to join the carriageways.
Do not allow undertaking. This is a backwards step, not a solution and will cause even more road carnage.

A high-mileage motorist
Petersfield, Hants

Big problems of juggernauts

SIR – I very much doubt we are losing one-third of our motorway network because of lane hoggers.
In none of your photographs was any car causing any problem or congestion. The biggest problem is to get people to use their mirrors on motorways. There is nothing wrong in being in an outside lane if no-one is held up. It is probably safer than to keep changing lanes.
Introducing undertaking would prove even more dangerous. You do not mention the loss of motorway miles caused by HGVs. On a busy motorway many are reluctant to pull back in after overtaking a lorry because it can be difficult to pull out again. This is made worse when two juggernauts are fighting it out for the lead over a mile or two.

Tony Kyle
Distribution controller, Swizzels Matlow

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