Fleet News

Thinking CAP

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

  • MONDAY

    Received a letter from Ford announcing a new pack for the S-MAX range called Individual.

    This has been introduced for customers who see craftsmanship and premium-quality materials as important. However, the most interesting paragraph is the one that explains how to pronounce the word Individual.

    Ford says it is pronounced – “in-dee-vid-u-arl” – a more continental and upmarket way of saying individual. Apparently this reflects the car’s upmarket place in the sector. All well and good, but I wonder how many Ford salespeople will stick to this pronunciation policy?

  • TUESDAY

    Mercedes-Benz told me there may be a shortage of the new C-Class in the UK due to exceptional worldwide demand.

    Production capacity has reached its maximum, but it still can’t cope with customer orders. In one way this is a nice position to be in, but on the other hand, you could end up with some fairly upset customers.

    There has been a particularly high demand for the Sport model – known in the rest of Europe as the Avantgarde – and production of the AMG bodystyling pack is at a maximum. Be patient if you do have one on order, as it is well worth the wait.

  • WEDNESDAY

    A number of manufacturers’ used car departments are saying they’re very short of stock.

    The main reason is the lack of cars going on to rental fleets, and consequently less coming back as used cars. Some manufacturers have cut back on the number of sales they are holding, and one has gone from three sales per month to just one every three months.

    The trade is now having to stock older cars with higher mileages, and hope the public will buy them. Some garages have built up their reputation over the years by selling late-plate cars, and built up a good and loyal following among their customers.

    Will these people now go and buy new from the franchised dealer, or pay more for the fewer nearly-new that are around?

    Manufacturers have for some time tried to restrict late-plate cars to help with RVs, and it appears for some this policy is now working.

  • THURSDAY

    Down to Milton Keynes to see Robert Thrift and Andy Harle from the Chrysler Group’s recently-formed fleet department. They will remain within the Mercedes-Benz building, and still share some staff, when the marriage of Daimler and Chrysler breaks up.

    Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep) will have launched seven new vehicles by the end of this year, and four more are due in 2008.

    These include the all-new Grand Voyager, Cherokee, and the Chrysler Sebring Cabriolet. Jeep will also introduce a Grand Cherokee SRT-8 lookalike, perhaps called the SRT-D.

    As the name suggests, this will have a diesel engine rather than the thirsty V8 petrol unit in the SRT-8.

    Chrysler will be introducing more tortoiseshell trim into cars instead of the more traditional wood.

    Don’t you just feel sorry for all those tortoises giving up their coats to save our forests?

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