Down to Milton Keynes to have a look at the new A4 at Audi’s training centre along with a number of fleet and leasing personnel.
Iain Carmichael, head of fleet sales at Audi, told us that its ambition was to be selling 110,000 units in the UK by 2010 and 120,000 in 2015. This growth will come from new models, rather than milking the current versions.
Iain told us that Audi wants to be recognised for customer satisfaction and as a premium car manufacturer.
He also said that A3 lead times will be reduced when the new plant in Brussels is up to speed.
There has been a delay on A3 orders in the UK due to demand worldwide. More about the A4 when we get the chance to drive it in a couple of weeks.
Had a meeting with Kia’s new managing director, Paul Philpott, along with company president Mr S Y Kim and other directors.
We agreed there had been a lack of communication over the past few months, not only with the other attendees but the industry in general.
Kia is determined to correct this and be more open. It admitted that in the recent past the business it had been doing was the wrong business and this was now changing.
The turnover of dealers was too high, and it now wants stability with its own staff and dealers.
Paul said that Kia was never going to become a premium brand, but with massively-improved quality it was in a better position to get on to more user-chooser lists.
Kia certainly seems to mean business and is determined to make changes for the better.
Over to the Frankfurt Motor Show to have a look at some new models due shortly.
This show is the biggest in Europe and you need to be fit as you have to walk miles around the various halls.
One of the stars was the Jaguar XF. Its styling will not necessarily appeal to Jaguar’s traditional customer base but will attract new people to the brand.
Fiat’s 500 attracted plenty of interest and it was difficult to get anywhere near one on the stand.
Prices and specification are still being kept a secret for the UK market. The Skoda Fabia estate looked much better in the metal than the photos, while Ford showed its impressive Kuga SUV.
On the Mazda stand we were given a presentation by Phil Waring, the head man at Mazda Motors Europe, and the chief designer of the all-new Mazda6 – Yoichi Sato.
It is 65mm longer and 15mm wider than the current car and shares the platform with other Mazda products.
However, Mazda pointed out that it does not share any components with the new Ford Mondeo.
The 6 certainly has great styling and a premium feel. Mr Sato told me that if he could change anything it would be the headlamps – the ones he wanted to use were too expensive and difficult to integrate into the front wings.