Martin Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationship manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence.
Over to Vienna to drive the new Mercedes-Benz CLC, the entry-level into the brand’s coupé section, where it joins the CLK, CLS and CL.
The CLC is the successor to the C-Class Sports Coupé but Mercedes-Benz has deliberately moved it into the coupé family and will market it as the ‘fourth coupé’.
The word coupé goes back to the horse-drawn carriage days when the front section of a four-seater frame was ‘cut off’ – or in French, ‘coupé’.
This one, though, like the other three, is strictly a four-seater but access into the rear of the CLC is good.
The front end is all new, and reminiscent of the new C-Class.
The rear hatch has undergone major surgery, but the interior has hardly changed with just a new instrument cluster.
So is it worthy of being in the select coupé family, or should it have remained within the C-Class line-up?
Mercedes-Benz is probably right in changing its name to CLC, but to call it an all-new car is a bit strong, as some have suggested.
It is basically a heavy facelift, and a good one.
Mercedes-Benz has used parts from many other vehicles, and this reduces costs and keeps the price within budgets.
Mark Bell, of Toyota Fleet, came up to Leeds to visit us.
He told us that this is a year of small changes to existing product, but from very early next year the floodgates will open and the market will be inundated with new models and new generations of existing models.
Organising new car launches takes a lot of planning to ensure the data is sent out in time by those who have to order them.
It is never easy for any manufacturer to ensure that all the boxes are ticked and a smooth launch is never guaranteed.
But it is good to see that Toyota, like so many other manufacturers, now understands the need to work closely with the rest of the industry.
This means they can plan production, and try to get the right cars, right spec, right colours and correct engine derivatives to customers on time, and not end up with a load of wrong spec cars sitting in dealer compounds.
Believe me, this still does happen.
So the wraps have finally come off the eagerly-awaited Vauxhall Insignia.
I went over to GM’s research and development facility a couple of months ago to have a look at some pre-production prototypes, and the general reaction was ‘wow’.
The Insignia is really going to upset some other manufacturers who currently offer some fairly average cars in this increasingly competitive segment of the market, and one that is declining in sales.
So any new car being launched doesn’t just have to be better than the previous model, it has to be outstanding.
We are going to drive an early-production Insignia in the next couple of months, so it will be interesting to see if it drives as well as it looks.