Fleet News

Thinking CAP

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

MONDAY
RECEIVED a press release from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders about green cars. Not the eco-friendly variety, but the colour.

In 2003 there were 176,000 sold in the UK, in 2004 this dropped to 117,000 and last year only 60,000 green cars were sold. In the good old days, green cars were seen as unlucky and nowadays they are just unloved and unwanted.

The most popular colour was, not surprisingly, silver – accounting for 762,000 sales.

TUESDAY
Read about Land Rover’s C02 Offset Programme – an interesting read, but a bit complicated.

This scheme will run to the end of 2008 and means customers will pay between £85 and £165 depending on the emissions their vehicle produces, with the money invested in renewable energy projects such as wind farms.

We are trying to get an answer from HM Revenue and Customs, the VAT office and ClimateCare – which runs the programme – over whether VAT is payable on the money paid and, more importantly, is it subject to benefit-in-kind tax? Land Rover has told us that it is VAT-exempt, but will appear as a P11D benefit.

WEDNESDAY
During night testing of Mercedes-Benz’s new Intelligent Light System on the new generation E-class, I was surprised to see that the sidelights are still in the inner lamp, alongside the grille, which I estimate to be around 15 to 16 inches from the edge of the front wing.

According to the Vehicle Certification Agency’s lighting regulations, the maximum distance from the car’s extreme outer edge is 400mm, so it seems it just falls within the law.

However, I wonder if it would not be difficult for other road users to be misled by their position – the car looks further away and oncoming drivers could misjudge the width of the E-class, with predictable consequences.

THURSDAY
Drove the new Mercedes-Benz GL range in Berkshire. The GL has seven full-size seats, but entry to the third row is from the driver’s side only. This means if you have to put kids in they can’t use the pavement side. It has been designed for left-hand drive markets, with no consideration being given to countries which drive on the proper side of the road.

FRIDAY
Popped into BCA Blackbushe to see what was being offered for auction. It is becoming more apparent just how big a choice the used car buyer is getting as more and more models have been introduced. Walking up and down the rows of cars, the diversity of models, derivatives and spec is really noticeable. The fleet industry is becoming more and more diverse.

Near the auction centre is a small town called Fleet, so I called into the newsagent to get a copy of the local paper, called Fleet News. I just wish our Fleet News had fascinating headlines such as ‘Rubbish rots in heat as dustmen fail to cope’.

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