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LETTERS to Fleet News editor Martyn Moore.

Pricing: Why all the secrecy?

SIR – Discount, in case any of your readers are not aware, is an amount of money that is ‘added on to be taken off a purchase price’.

When I purchased cars as a fleet manager I threw the price list in the bin as it is an unrealistic document as far as fleet purchasing is concerned.

Therefore, as far as Northern Constabulary is concerned (‘Police want to keep pricing confidential’, Fleet News, May 25), they have nothing to hide when they are asked to state how much they paid for their Range Rovers, because that should be the question, not how much discount did you receive. That then brings me to the prices at which the volume car manufacturers sell their products to large fleets.

Whatever happened to block exemption? If the only way that manufacturers can sell their products is to massively cut the initial price to fleets, they should not be surprised when the retail buyers shy away from their products due to reluctance to shoulder an enormous loss on their purchase due to low residual value.

Why should a retail buyer want to purchase a volume car when the same car sold to a fleet has made his or her purchase worth some 35% less as soon as it leaves the showroom? Under block exemption a manufacturer was not supposed to sell cars to large fleets at prices lower than to a dealership that took the same volume of vehicles in any year. If that were upheld, a dealer could compete on price and the retail buyer would have confidence in purchasing the product.

I have no sympathy at all for the volume manufacturers engaging in distress selling of their products – they have brought it upon themselves.

The same has not happened with the predominantly German premium manufacturers which have marketed their cars in a more structured manner and designed desirable products.

Major reliance on fleet sales, as is the case with some manufacturers, is probably one of the main reasons we have seen the sort of problems that have befallen Coventry and Ellesmere Port recently.

My sympathies, though, are with the workers who through no fault of their own lost their jobs.
Malcolm H Hartley, ex-fleet manager

What ‘Europe’ actually consists of

SIR – I would like to refer to your Fleet News Europe column, where one can often find car sales figures relating to EU and EFTA Member States.

I need to bring your attention to the following fact. EFTA stands for European Free Trade Association. The difference may seem irrelevant but is certainly important (for the sake of the readers’ general knowledge).

Moreover, the car sales figures table gives a breakdown of sales change in EU and EFTA Member States as well as Switzerland.

In the last row of the table you put: ‘Total Europe’ meaning obviously members of the above mentioned organisations.

I want to emphasise two points in this regard.

Firstly, Europe consists of many other countries not belonging to EU or EFTA which suggests that using expression ‘Total Europe’ seems to be sort of an unintentional abuse of terminology. Secondly, EU and EFTA (excluding Switzerland) constitute what’s called EEA – European Economic Area.

I would strongly recommend using this term instead of treating Europe as a group of 29 countries only.
Mariusz Balabanski, team assistant, Nottingham City Council Neighbourhood Services Fleet Management

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