Fleet News

Thinking CAP

Hardworking Martin Ward scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence

WEDNESDAY

Down to Newport to the annual Mitsubishi dealer conference, where the highlight was the unveiling of the all-new Lancer and Evolution X.

The crowds seemed to love it.

The Lancer goes on sale in March in four-door form, with the five-door available from September.

We drove a 2.0-litre diesel around South Wales, and found the Volkswagen-sourced engine to be – as expected – noisy.

But the noise didn’t stop with the engine as there was also excessive road and wind noise.

Mitsubishi says the new Lancer will compete with Focus, Mazda3, Volvo S40 and Civic.

As a lower-medium saloon, it is going to have a hard time, as all previous saloons have in this sector.

The one big factor in its favour is its looks.

The exterior styling is unique and just like the Evo X.

Toby Marshall, general manager fleet and used car sales, told me that this is Mitsubishi’s first real attempt into this market.

It will have around 2,500 saloons and hatches to sell in 2008 for fleet and retail, so these should disappear reasonably easily.

MONDAY

Looking at some of the test cars we’ve had this year and in particular how many have had BlueTooth – more than you would think as it is a growing trend.

But there is awful, not so bad and really good.

The best – speaking as a complete novice in this technology – has to be the Nissan system.

It’s easy to pair your phone to, easy to operate and crystal clear.

Other systems seem to “bing-bong” every time a signal is lost or found, making the radio go off for a couple of seconds.

This is very annoying when listening to the news or football scores – just imagine: Leeds United 4, Huddersfield Town “bing-bong”.

TUESDAY

Changed some pounds into euros, and was horrified to get only 1.31 to £1 – a drop of nearly 10%, which means buying anything from Europe is costing 10% more.

I realise this is the tourist rate, but this means there has to be a forthcoming round of manufacturer price increases to compensate for the falling value of the pound.

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