Fleet News

Thinking CAP

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

Monday

Picked up a Skoda Fabia Estate in Ashford and drove the few miles to the Channel Tunnel and across to France.

We drove many miles on a variety of roads and even took it on to one of northern France’s famous beaches.

I drove the most basic car for around 200 miles – the 1.2-litre Fabia 1, which is great value at around £9,400.

On paper the engine may look too small, but in reality it is fine – quiet, refined and offering more than enough power to cruise easily at 80mph.

The estate is 25cm longer than the hatch and costs around £600 more.

The choice of this type of vehicle is limited with only the Peugeot 207 SW and the forthcoming Renault Clio Sport Tourer.

The Fabia Estate seems to offer plenty of luggage space, enough room for five adults, is well built and at an affordable price.

Skoda expects to sell around 3,800 this year with 38% going to fleet and, of those, 56% will be diesel.

Wednesday

Down to Milton Keynes to have a look at the new Chrysler Sebring Cabriolet – a full four-seater that goes on sale in the UK in early April.

There will only be one model – the Limited, and two engines: a 2.0-litre CRD diesel with a six-speed manual gearbox and a 2.7-litre V6 petrol with a six-speed auto – which Chrysler says will be 50/50 split in sales.

The roof is fully automatic with cloth material that neatly folds into the boot.

The list of standard equipment is endless, and prices start at £22,995 for the diesel and £24,995 for the V6. Chrysler says that the main competitors will be the Audi A4, Volkswagen Eos, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz CLK.

We looked at the range of cars that Chrysler Group offers which include Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge and it does look complicated and probably a few too many models that dealers have to sell – rationalisation would be a sensible answer to reduce the number of vehicles and crossovers.

We spoke to Simon Elliot, who has recently taken over as managing director, and has moved back into this position two years after he left it to run the Chinese operation.

Friday

Went to Ingolstadt, the home of Audi, to look at an early pre-pre-production SEAT Ibiza, which goes on sale late July.

SEAT is taking advantage of Audi’s legendary skills in the art of producing cars with high build quality, and the Spanish company is determined to build this quality into its vehicles.

The new Ibiza will be launched as five-door only in July, with a very stylish three-door Sports Coupé being revealed later this year.

The Sports Coupé certainly has the looks that will appeal to a younger audience, and if quality is as good as promised, with sensible pricing, SEAT may be on to a winner.

 

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