Fleet News

Thinking CAP

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

SUNDAY

GOT a phone call from my 83-year old aunt, stranded with a broken clutch on the A1. She had forgotten to renew her breakdown cover but the Highways Agency kindly towed her off the motorway but left her in a McDonald’s car park. What surprised me is just how ridiculously difficult it is getting assistance on a Sunday. I phoned the local dealer, who would not help, so we abandoned the car overnight. The dealer said it might be able to look at the car on Thursday. The moral of the story is this: enjoy the luxury of a company car, and make certain you’ve got breakdown cover.

MONDAY

DARE I say that you can’t always believe what you read? Colin Whelan, who’s in charge of our swanky new Market Value Manager system, which uses our data on used prices to settle insurance claims much faster, recently issued a news release revealing the most common write-offs.

It turns out that the Ford Fiesta holds that title, while blue cars account for 24% of those totalled and that Birmingham was the most popular place for a write-off.

Something has to top the list of write-offs and it doesn’t actually mean that the owners of blue Ford Fiestas in Birmingham are the most accident-prone drivers, as some of the popular press trumpeted when they carried the story.

TUESDAY

TSI-engined Golf will be badged GT so UK drivers have even less idea what’s under the bonnet

GOT a presentation on the workings of the new Volkswagen supercharged/turbocharged TSI engine. I’m sure it made perfect sense to the engineer making the presentation, but to us laymen, it’s a mystery. I didn’t understand some of the words, let alone the technology. In practice the TSI engine starts, stops and works perfectly. But my question is this: as ever-more complicated technology leaves the non-genius behind, how much do we really need to know? Does the average company car driver just have to trust the carmakers and hope that everything works rather than making a judgement themselves about the validity of new technology?

WEDNESDAY

Don’t forget to switch the lights off in a Savvy.

GOT a Proton Savvy Style test car, priced at £6,995. It’s well-equipped although the 1.2-litre engine is distinctly lacking on the motorway. But I’m surprised it doesn’t have a ‘headlights on’ warning chime, which could easily leave you with a flat battery. The car is not that cheap that it has to forgo a basic thing like that. Come on Proton, it must be easy enough to sort out.

FRIDAY

I HEAR that FIAT has done a deal with Ikea to furnish its showrooms. According to Fleet News’ sister title AM, it means cheaper showroom furniture (which can often be very expensive). The brands sit well together – they both aspire to be funky and value for money.

  • Martin Ward is CAP’s manufacturer relationships manager
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