Nowadays, rather like at Burger King, the motto is: ‘you want it – you got it’.
And if one dealer doesn’t have it – ie the exact vehicle for an exact need – the buyer is quite likely to leg it down the road to the next garage and find one that does.
Citroën realised this a long time ago and was one of the first manufacturers to set up a network of specialist converters it could trust to build quality off-the-peg conversions. After all, it’s no good offering a warranty on the vehicle but not on the body.
The Ready to Run programme offered by the French manufacturer has a warranty that covers everything – fleets can choose either two years/unlimited mileage or three years 100,000 miles.
For 2007, the range of ready-made vehicles has been expanded and honed and together with Citroën’s legendary low prices, is already beginning to pay dividends. Citroën sales were up by 23% in April.
Citroën commercial vehicle manager Robert Handyside said: “Ready to Run products are of the highest specification and supplied by the leading converters in their fields.
And these converters have not been restrained by working to a given price – each has been encouraged to produce the optimum spec product for the programme without focusing on cost.”
As well as a host of new models, there will be extra demonstrators available at showrooms so that potential customers can try before they buy.
One of the most noticeable in the new range is a macho-looking Relay Luton courtesy of Buckstone Motor Bodies.
This is based either on a long wheelbase or extra long wheelbase chassis and provides a load area of 20 cubic metres and load lengths of up to four metres, with payloads up to 1,180kg.
The Luton body is built from anodised aluminium body sections with GRP panelling and features a lightweight rear shutter and full-width step. All come with rear parking sensors. Prices start at £14,495 ex-VAT.
Another new feature in the Ready to Run range is Citroën’s petrol/LPG Berlingo, converted by Nicholson McLaren Engines. While all the other major manufacturers have given up on LPG, Citroën has plugged on and is selling these vans by the shedload to fleets which want to dodge the London congestion charge.
With a 1.4-litre petrol engine pumping out 75bhp, this van at £7,995 ex-VAT is likely to save £1,696 a year on the congestion charge alone, plus generous fuel savings on LPG.
Another vehicle in the programme likely to be of interest to fleets is the Relay dropside from Ingimex. Priced at from £12,495 ex-VAT, the Relay has a 1,500kg payload and features a new larger ladder frame and heavy duty aluminium dropsides.
Meanwhile there are a range of minibuses featuring 12, 15 and 17 seats courtesy of Advanced Vehicle Builders.
There are also car transporters, refrigerated vehicles from Somers, glass carriers from Supertrucks and a range of racking options from QI Van Systems.