CAP's manufacturer relationships manager Martin Ward scours the globe for the week's insider fleet intelligence
I’ve been reading a press release from Citroën, which has been doing some research about child passengers distracting drivers.
It says that one in four motorists has nearly had an accident because of children fighting, screaming or generally misbehaving in the car.
I can speak from personal experience that even a baby dropping its dummy or toy, and the driver reaching behind to try and find it on the floor, is much more dangerous than talking on a mobile phone – the Government can ban the use of phones from cars, but it is unlikely they can ban kids, which are certainly more dangerous.
Manufacturers do all they can to ensure cars are as safe as can be in an accident, but there is very little they can do to keep the children quiet, and keep the driver’s mind on the road.
Flew over to Kia’s European headquarters in Frankfurt with Ian Mathews, head of product planning at Kia UK.
We met with the product and marketing team and Giuseppe Tommaso – the man who has recently got the job of European fleet and remarketing manager.
It would appear from the presentation that Kia is now taking the fleet market and the remarketing of its used vehicles very seriously.
They told us some of their future product plans and it all seemed very sensible – Kia needs mainstream cars to sell alongside its more niche models.
While I was in the 10-storey glass building I bumped into Paul Willis, CEO of Kia Motors Europe, and previously at Volkswagen.
He said Kia has developed a clear vision for the future operation in Europe. It has invested in a new factory in Slovakia which produces the Cee’d and Sportage.
Paul said he was very confident that Kia can build on its performance.
Down to the IDIADA proving ground near Barcelona to see and drive an all-new upper-medium sector vehicle due on sale early next year.
I signed so many secrecy and confidentiality forms that I dare not mention who I was with.
We briefly saw a static estate version and it looked good, much better than the current model.
But for the first time in any launch or preview I’ve been on we drove disguised cars covered in “cladding”.
For a manufacturer to show off a new car it has to be presented in the perfect way, and not covered in cornflake boxes and egg cartons to hide its true shape.
We see many cars many months before they are launched, and every other manufacturer has them looking pristine and with no cladding –which has to be the right way to do it.
If I was an expert in stability, handling, chassis dynamics and braking diagnosis, which I am not, then this exercise would have been beneficial.
It’s a privilege to drive early versions of forthcoming cars, but when you can’t actually see what you’re driving, the experience is a little frustrating.