Been to a sneak preview of the new 207 CC at Peugeot’s HQ in Coventry. It’s more muscular than the 206 CC so should appeal to males. Peugeot expects to sell around 7,000 this year, after its launch on March 1.
Despite the shenanigans at the Ryton factory, there’s plenty of investment elsewhere in Coventry. A new HQ is being built just down the road from its present base in Aldemoor Lane. Due to open early 2008, it looks like a swish airport hotel – a much more stylish base for a modern car company.
I went to a meeting at Suzuki, which has recently moved from Crawley up to ‘Motor City’ – Milton Keynes. Ian Price, Suzuki GB general manager, said one of the biggest problems they faced last year was a shortage of cars, especially Grand Vitara, SX4 and Swift.
But Suzuki is increasing production at its Hungarian plant from 190,000 to more than 300,000 by the end of 2007, with worldwide production going from 2.2 million to more than 3 million by the end of 2009, which should solve the problem.
The firm is also going to start producing its own diesel engines, making it less reliant on other manufacturers.
The Swift has been a huge success throughout Europe and Price reckons it is the first ‘proper’ car Suzuki has had to sell. Price admits Suzuki is still unknown in the fleet world, something they have to change over the next couple of years.
Read Professor Peter Cooke’s report Rethinking Used Business Car Disposal Strategy, sponsored by BCA. In it Cooke says: ‘Used car prices are a difficult concept, far more complex than new car prices. In the case of a used car price, which figure do you actually use? Do you use CAP at the moment of de-fleeting – or do you use the figure actually realised when the vehicle is sold?’
He is absolutely right in most of the report, but many leasing companies and customers think new car prices are equally as complicated and vary hugely depending on area and dealer.
For example (and this is not specifically a BMW issue), you might get a difference of £700 on the final discount figure for a new 3-series depending on the time of the month (with targets to hit) or location. How can that aid price stability?
When it comes to the environment, it’s amazing how easily people can assuage their guilt with seemingly token efforts and their lack of understanding of the real issues.
A woman in my local pub, The Smiths, was lecturing me about how to go green. She has bought a new Lexus RX400h, which on a good day will get just over 30mpg.
She bought it to take her kids to a private school 15 miles away. Two round trips of 30 miles equals 300 miles per week. If she really does want to save the planet, we have a really good school in the village – 400 metres from her house.