Fleet News

Remarketing: Thinking CAP

HARDWORKING Martin Ward scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence.

MONDAY

Went to Barcelona for the day to have a look at the new SEAT Leon FR. I didn’t know that FR stands for Formula Racing, and I doubt many buyers do, either. Despite SEAT’s efforts in touring cars, the FR brand seems to have an identity problem.

Everyone has heard of GTI, ST, VXR and vRS but SEAT need to lift the profile of its sporty brand and make it more recognisable: it will help sales and make the car more desirable in the used market. The new Leon FR certainly deserves to be a success as it drives and handles superbly.

TUESDAY

Got a press release from Renault saying there will be a 5% benefit-in-kind reduction for cars emitting 120g/km of CO2 or less from 2008/9. Renault can already offer 28 cars meeting this level. Good news for company car drivers, and a challenge for other manufacturers to offer a portfolio similar to Renault’s.

WEDNESDAY

Calm down dear, I’m really a very careful driver. Martin averages 30mpg-plus in a Z4

Drove down to Stansted in a BMW Z4 3.0si, and at a steady 70mph, it achieved 31.4mpg. Really good for this type of car illustrating the flexibility of BMW’s superb engines, and also proves what a careful, considerate driver I am!

THURSDAY

Roomster – has Skoda agreed what its competitors are?

Two days in Prague to drive the new Skoda Roomster. On the plane over we were given a UK hand-out which said the competition was Citroen C4, Ford Focus and C-MAX, Renault Megane, Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 307 and Renault Scenic. During the presentation by the Czech hosts, the competitors changed to Fiat Idea, Vauxhall Meriva, Renault Modus, Citroen Picasso and Ford Fusion, which made more sense but shows how tricky market positioning can be.

FRIDAY

I’ve been studying pictures of the new Vauxhall Corsa. The five-door looks better proportioned than the current model while the three-door looks like it will appeal more to younger drivers. Is Vauxhall on to another winner?

Spoke to Tony Styles, Black Book database manager. He tells me that the Volkswagen Golf Plus has suffered a reduction in prices. The Plus started with a new price premium of £500 over the Golf. This then came down to the same money, and now on the used market the Plus is trailing by around £500. Which just proves that people who want a Golf will only buy a Golf, and buyers do not typically see the Plus as a plus, preferring to stick with what they know. A lesson other manufacturers should take a warning from.

The Golf Plus can’t match the Golf on the used market

  • Martin Ward is CAP’s manufacturer relationships manager
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