Fleet News

Paris Motor Show: BMW, Peugeot, Honda and Lexus

THE world’s car manufacturers were out in force at the Paris Motor Show with a host of launches. In the fourth instalment we visit the BMW, Peugeot, Honda and Lexus stands.

BMW: business drivers snap up 3-series Coupe

CORPORATE buyers have given BMW’s new 3-series Coupe a flying start in the showrooms.

Business drivers have already ordered 40% of the 4,000 models earmarked for the UK over the next three months. But only a handful of drivers will get behind the wheel when BMW launches the world’s first luxury production car to run on hydrogen as well as petrol next year.

A spokesman said: ‘We’ve been told the maximum number of these 7-series models we can expect is five, so this version will be particularly exclusive. It’s such a specialist vehicle it is likely to be subject to a lease hire agreement and returned to us after a set period.’

Peugeot: stronger in the UK

THREATS that Peugeot would lose business in Britain as a result of closing its car plant in Coventry have failed to materialise.

The firm’s share of the UK new car market has risen from 5.4 to 6.2% so far this year and fleet business in the period is up by 23%, revealed managing director Pierre-Louis Colin.

He said: ‘By any yardstick the new 207 is a smash hit – we had 8,500 orders for the car in September, 2,000 more than expected. It shows our customers took little notice when the unions threatened us with boycotts.’

Speaking as the new 207CC was launched in concept form, Colin added: ‘It is clear the closure of Ryton has had absolutely no effect on our fleet business.

‘We are back as a major force as a result of reversing the decision to pull out of daily rental business two years ago. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but clearly it was the wrong thing to do.’

Honda: CR-V gives Swindon a boost

HONDA’S new CR-V, which made its world debut in Paris, will help the manufacturer boost production of cars in the UK to a record level.

The new SUV challenger, which goes on sale in January with prices ranging from £19,000 to £25,000, will be built alongside the Civic range at the firm’s Swindon plant.

This year, Swindon will produce 190,000 cars but the addition of CR-V and Civic three-door models will push the plant to 250,000 cars by the end of next year – the plant’s full capacity.

As a result of an extra shift being added, 700 new jobs will be created, bringing Swindon’s total workforce to 4,900 staff.

Dave Hodgetts, director of planning and administration at Honda of the UK Manufacturing, said: ‘This next phase of development for Honda is a massive vote of confidence in all our associates working at Swindon and demonstrates our long-term commitment to the region and to British manufacturing.’

Alongside the CR-V on Honda’s stand was the production version of two new additions to the Civic range – the three-door Civic Type S and the Type R hot hatch, which the firm has revealed will be priced between £18,000 to £20,000 when deliveries begin in March 2007.

Lexus: hybrids go from strength-to-strength

LEXUS will expand its hybrid offering when the LS600h goes on UK sale in the middle of next year.

Powered by a 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine allied to electric motors, the luxury hybrid saloon will offer 443bhp and average fuel economy of 29mpg, with CO2 emissions of 220g/km.

Lexus will offer a choice of two models in the UK – the standard version and a long wheelbase car with an extra 120mm of rear cabin space.

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