Fleet News

Thinking CAP

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

MONDAY

WENT all the way up to Wetherby, all of 23 miles away, to drive the first right-hand drive, UK spec Skoda Roomster, which goes on sale next week. I first drove the Roomster back in June and I wasn’t sure of its design. I’m still not, but one thing it has got is space, and plenty of it, for passengers and cargo. Skoda itself wasn’t sure at the time who its key competitors would be, and there seemed to be a difference of opinion between the UK and the Czech Republic. It has now decided on Idea, C-MAX, Meriva and Note. Skoda executives expect to register about 800 this year in the UK, and a very realistic 6,000 in 2007.

TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY

I’VE been to Volvo’s top-secret test-tack at Hallerad to have a presentation and an early view of the C30.

The C30 is Volvo’s all-new two-door ‘coupe’ with a distinctive glass rear door, reminiscent of the Volvo P1800 of the early 70s.

It is aimed at a younger audience and the look of it will certainly generate interest from all sectors and age groups.

Volvo has high hopes that in fleet it will take a decent slice of the lucrative young executive user-chooser market, something the Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic are doing so well in.

It expects to sell about 65,000 units worldwide, with 5,000 of these coming to the UK next year, with prices to start at under £15,000 OTR, which gives it a good chance to achieve this. Even though it looks good, I think they’ve still got a job in convincing young executives out of their A3s, Golfs and Civics.

If you travel through Europe, you’ll know how ubiquitous the Mercedes-Benz taxi is. Not in Sweden: Gothenburg airport’s all-Volvo taxi rank is very patriotic.

THURSDAY

MET with Karl Neuhold, whose business card says ‘Design Exterieur’ at Skoda Auto in the Czech Republic. Neuhold is responsible for the Skoda Joyster design study to be shown at this week’s Paris show, which is likely to go into production. The ultra-modern three-door sports hatch will compete with Clio, Polo and 207. According to Neuhold, Skoda is facing a challenge getting younger drivers into its cars. Well, if Volvo managed it then there’s hope for Skoda.

FRIDAY

MATT Cuthbert, our New Vehicle Data researcher, reliably informs me that there are now 5,849 new models of cars available in the UK. Factor in all the colours, trims and options and so on, and the number goes into millions. Interesting is the ever-growing number of soft-tops, roadsters and the high quality tin-tops, a total now of 232 which has doubled in three years. All quite a handful for fleet managers to keep on top of.

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