Martin Ward, CAP’s manufacturer
relationships manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence
Over to Skoda’s headquarters in Prague to have a look around the new Superb, which goes on sale in September.
The cars we saw were some of the first off the production line, and the quality was extremely good, although some of the switches and the haptics are not up to Audi standards yet.
The car is huge with loads of rear legroom, and it is this fact that will no doubt help sales.
The boot is also enormous, even with the rear seats in the up position.
Skoda has created what it calls the ‘twin-door’ – a system which allows the Superb to be a full five-door hatchback or, after closing the door and pressing a button, a four-door saloon with a boot.
At CAP we have decided to code it as a five-door hatch.
Out of the country again, but this time just over the border into north Wales to drive the Mazda6 estate.
Steve Tomlinson and Andreas Welham from the fleet department gave us a presentation on various Mazda issues.
They apologised for supply problems with Mazda6 diesel models, but explained that they had managed to switch production of 2,300 petrol engines for diesel, which should ease the situation.
They then explained Madza’s digital service record system.
All cars sold since July 2006 have not had a service book in the car, but the details are kept centrally.
They can be accessed online by any interested party – providing they have been granted permission.
All Mazda dealers have to record any service work or repairs done to the vehicle, as have registered non-Mazda dealers.
Mazda says it is a safe way of keeping service records and avoids the danger of losing paper versions.
In theory, an auction should be able to print out the service history and have it to hand ahead of the car being offered for sale.
Mazda accepted that the system was little known about, but is making great efforts to ensure everybody knows about it before next July when the first three-year-old cars come off fleet – without a service book in the car.
Down to Daventry to drive the new Mercedes-Benz SLK and SL roadsters, both of which have had some serious exterior enhancements which makes them look so much better.
I drove the SLK55 AMG which really is a monster. It goes from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds, but feels much quicker than this – you feel as though you have left your stomach behind every time you set off.
But then I drove the more sedate SLK 200K and at nearly half the price of the AMG, it seems twice the value as it has everything you need – looks, comfort and style.
The Air-scarf option, which keeps your neck warm when the roof is down, is a definite must-have.
The SL has received a major make-over, with the radically revised front end being the most noticeable change.
The SL has been in its current guise since 2002 with a minor facelift in 2006.
Volumes are relatively low with 1,044 sold in 2006 and 986 last year.