Fleet News

Thinking Cap

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

SUNDAY
Read a local magazine while on a weekend break in Malaga saying the local police are cracking down on foreign-plated cars. If they are suspicious that a car has been in Spain for more than 182 days, they can immobilise it without warning. There have been instances of UK tourists being stopped and, if all the paperwork is not in order, off the car goes to the compound. If a company car driver is taking a car abroad, ensure they have all the necessary documents with them.

MONDAY
Back from Malaga. More and more manufacturers tell us they are reducing the vehicles they are letting rental companies have. Knowing about this shortage, it’s always a relief to get the keys to the rental car you specify. As more of us travel abroad on business, what a disaster it would be if car hire companies could not keep up with supply. Sometimes rental seems a dirty word to carmakers, especially in RV terms, but it performs a key service.

TUESDAY
A letter from Tom Madden saying he is retiring – well ‘sort of retirement’ as he put it. Having known Tom for a very long time, it is difficult to believe he won’t be the face of BCA any longer, but he says he is going to retain links with the company, and I won’t be surprised to see him at various events and functions for many years to come. On behalf of everyone at CAP, and the rest of the industry, I wish Tom a very happy ‘sort of retirement’, and look forward to catching up with him soon.

THURSDAY
A Visit to the new flagship Audi dealership in Cardiff for the Audi UK Contract Hire and Leasing Forum. Audi is heavily into fleet these days: it had 40 guests to tell them about forthcoming models and to discuss factors which will affect the industry over the coming years. The Cardiff showroom is the largest in Europe, giving demonstrations to about 20 fleet customers a week. They never refuse a test drive. The café serves people who work nearby as well as staff and customers – a novel way to create showroom traffic.

FRIDAY
Got a Volkswagen Eos 2.0T FSI from Volkswagen’s fleet demonstration service. I have a top tip for anyone thinking of buying a tip-top tin-top. If you park close to something behind you, when you put the roof either up or down, the boot lid is thrown out backwards by around 15 inches. Mine kissed the bonnet of the car behind (without damage) but the roof should sense it’s touching something and retract itself. I queried this with Volkswagen and such is their attention to detail that they have sent a man into the car park to reverse their many Eoses to ensure the function works. I hope he’s got some factor 30 suncream for the job.

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