Fleet News

Thinking CAP

MARTIN Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationships manager, with the week’s insider fleet intelligence.

Tuesday

SPOKE to Matt Cuthbert from our New Vehicle Data team, who tells me that there were 96 new derivatives of tin-tops added to our database in 2006, a rise of 585% over 2005.

These all-new coupe-cabriolets included Astra Twin-Top, Colt CZC, Micra C+C, Focus, Eos and Volvo C70.

If 2006 was the year of the tin-top, 2007 will be year of the small SUV, at least in terms of launches, if not sales.

There will be plenty of choice on top of recently introduced models from Land Rover, Toyota and Honda.

The list is long and will give fleet customers a bewildering choice. There will be the Mitsubishi Outlander2, Citroën C-Crosser, Peugeot 4007, Chevrolet Captiva, Vauxhall Antara, Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-7, Hummer H3 and even Volkswagen’s Tiguan might make an appearance at the very end of 2007.

If you add up all the manufacturers’ proposed sales figures, you get 34,000 additional small 4x4s sold into the market this year, at a time when the market is fragmenting and residuals are dropping.

While most of the carmakers are sensibly proposing limited sales of their respective SUVs, combine all the new models and it is still a very large number.

In three years’ time, you could easily have 100,000 extra used small SUVs trying to find homes. Something has to give, either in this sector or another.

Where are they all going to go? And what will happen to prices?

Wednesday

BEEN using a MINI Cooper S for the past few days, which took me back to the launch in a very sunny Barcelona early November.

The sky was blue, the temperature was in the mid-20s and no jacket was required.

The MINI was impressive in those conditions, and back in Huddersfield on a dark, misty, miserable January day, it was just as exciting to drive.

No matter where you are, or what the weather is doing, a MINI will always brighten up a driver’s day.

And with predicted RVs as good as the old one, and running costs cheaper than before, it’s going to brighten up a fleet manager’s day too.

Thursday

UNBELIEVABLY, the base LX version of the Citroën C4 Picasso doesn’t have a radio as standard. Even BMW manages that these days! I rang Julian Leyton, press and PR manager at Citroën UK, to get an official explanation.

He reckons the specification is really good throughout the C4 Picasso range, with safety given a priority.

The base model will account for less than 5% of sales and a radio can be ordered as factory fit for £250, or an aftermarket one can be fitted as a less expensive option.

Not fitting a radio as standard keeps the LX within a price-point.

I, along with most of the fleet industry, hope this is not a trend, as we all thought that paying for a radio/audio equipment was long gone. How long will it be before the radio is standard fit and not an option?

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