Fleet News

Thinking CAP

MARTIN Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationships manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence.

MONDAY

LOOKING at coverage of last week’s Paris Motor Show, one noticeable thing was the large number of white cars on show.

There may a hidden agenda, a subliminal message, getting us ready for the next big colour. Some white cars do look good, but before you decide to put white on the fleet, can I suggest you come and look at a white 03-registered Passat in my village that looks so shabby and dirty. White must still be avoided if possible – unless it’s a Golf GTI – with a boot full of cleaning materials.

TUESDAY

TO Bavaria to drive Mazda’s new five-door hot-hatch – the Mazda3 MPS. It certainly was quick – its 2.3-litre turbocharged engine producing 255bhp quickly got up to the limited 155mph on the autobahn.

The problem is that MPS, which stands for Mazda Performance Series, doesn’t really sound sporty, so Mazda will have a job to get over the message. In an image-conscious sector, its competitors – GTI, VXR and ST – are strong brands.

WEDNESDAY

ON the way back into Munich airport in our MPS, we saw the mother of all fleets going in the other direction.

President Putin, fresh in from Russia, was somewhere in the middle of an entourage of dozens of high-security armoured cars, minibuses (all full of heavies), police bikes and cars. The fleet stretched out for more than a mile. The fleet managerski must have his work cut out keeping this lot on the road. Checking that the presidential Zil is taxed and roadworthy must be the tip of a Kevlar-plated iceberg.

THURSDAY

I’VE been driving the new Kia Sedona, a true seven-seat people carrier with room for luggage (unlike some with that claim). The new model is well-built, uses some quality materials and is quiet and refined.

The Sedona is something of a dark horse – it’s second in terms of fleet market share this year, behind only the Ford Galaxy and ahead of fleet brands such as Volkswagen, Peugeot and Renault, and this model should continue the outgoing version’s excellent performance.

FRIDAY

IN Madrid to drive the all-new Nissan Cabstar light truck.

The Cabstar is essentially a chassis cab and will be available initially with a factory fit dropside, and a tipper and box will be able to be ordered next year. The one downside to the vehicle, like most commercial vehicles, is that the driver sits in complete luxury in a soft chair with all manner of adjustments, but passengers have to endure a bolt-upright hard seat with no movement, which is extremely uncomfortable.

I know cost-cutting is important with LCVs, but you rarely see one worker in a van. Why do the passengers have to suffer?

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