Fleet News

Thinking CAP

MARTIN Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationships manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence

MONDAY

Got a new Ford Transit in, so I thought I was going to be a super-cool white van man for a week. However, it’s silver and has no air-con, so I’m neither a white-van man, nor cool.

Showed it to my neighbour who has just bought a new Tranny, an N-reg – well it’s new to him.

He was impressed but pointed out that as good as the new Transit is, he would not throw all his building rubble into the back of a new van. A 10-year old one, in his opinion, is too new for what he needs it for. My new Transit will be his new Transit in a few years’ time.

TUESDAY

Called in to a rental firm’s disposal site. My contact tells me they are very short of ex-rental cars to sell, and have plenty of orders to fulfil from big buyers.

This company’s problem is they need all the cars during a busy rental period, and are not putting any new ones on until the new registration plate change on September 1 to ensure maximum price when the time comes to sell them. This is double-trouble for them, as in September they will be competing in a market awash with part-exchanges and dealers short of ready cash to buy them.

WEDNESDAY

Went over the hills into Lancashire to drive the all-new Astravan, the best looking car-derived van in a long time.

When driving it you would not know it is a van as the cabin is exactly the same as the car.

The most popular version, according to Vauxhall, will be the Club which will take 65% of sales. I drove the 1.3 and 1.9-litre CDTi diesels. The 1.3 with 90bhp may sound under-powered, but it certainly isn’t.

At 70mph the engine is ticking over at 2,000rpm in sixth. This engine should account for 50% of sales. Vauxhall estimates 14,000 will be built per year, with 10,000 staying in the UK and the rest destined for Europe, which seems to prefer larger small vans – known as Cubes.

THURSDAY

Read with interest a press release from Suzuki about its plans. It is to increase production at its plants by more than three-quarters of a million extra units per year around the world by 2009. The reason is because of increased demand for its products. I just hope the dealers can cope.

FRIDAY

Had a good look at the car sales figures for July which, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, are down 4.2%.

Fiat is a big winner, though, up 67% and much of this must be down to Grande Punto, while Lexus is up 50% thanks primarily to the IS diesel.

The big fleet manufacturers such as Ford and Vauxhall are down by around 5%, but Honda’s 4.5% drop was a mystery, especially as it now has a diesel Civic. But its answer is that the upper-medium sector is down 32% so Accord is down, Jazz has supply issues and new Civic’s volumes have been realigned downwards in line with supply.

But more importantly, the big corporate deals signed last year have not been done this year to protect residual values.

Had a good look at SMMT car sales registrations for July, where I see they are down -4.2%.

The Year-to-Date is down a similar amount, and some interesting and surprising numbers in there.

The winners have to be Fiat who are up a massive 66.91%, much of this increase must be Grande Punto, and Lexus up 49.66%, having a diesel has helped them.

The mainstream traditional Fleet manufacturers such as Ford and Vauxhall are down between four and five per cent with VW up a touch at 6.93%. Honda was a mystery, down 4.45%, as they now have a diesel Civic, but their answer, which makes sense, is that the D sector is down 32% - Accord sales have been adjusted in line with the market trend.

Jazz has supply issues, and new Civic has sold over 20,000 units so far, but overall volumes have been realigned with supply. But more importantly, the large corporate deals done last year have not been done again this year. Honda states this is has been planned to protect residual values.

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