Martin Ward, CAP's manufacturer relationship manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence
I’ve been driving a Volkswagen Tiguan with Park-Assist – a system which parks the car automatically.
When you want to park on a street, you simply press a button next to the gear stick, set the indicators going, look out for a space, and watch for an arrow on the dash change from pointing forward to showing reverse.
Put the car into reverse and take your hands off the wheel, just use the clutch and accelerator.
The parking system takes over and puts the car bang in the middle of the space.
It sounds great, and it is.
But – and there’s always a but – it will not park in a car park or multi-storey, only parallel park on a road in a large gap.
Is it is a fantastic invention or a superb gimmick?
So it’s official – the motor industry is beginning to suffer.
As many of you are already experiencing, prices in many sectors of the market are not as buoyant as they were with larger-engined cars being the worst affected.
The indications are that increasing numbers of buyers are adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude due to the concerns in the economy – rising fuel prices and VED, increased household bills – it’s not a pretty picture.
Unsold used car volumes are increasing and this is giving the customer more choice, and this choice will naturally now be more about their own economic situation and individual budget, and not as much about power and image.
Confidence needs to be put back into place before there is any real upturn in the market, not just in the motor industry, but life in general.
Good, clean economical cars will always be in demand, and if the current situation continues then these are the cars that will help the balance sheet.
We at CAP are focused on the known ‘hard’ factors such as CO2/VED, fuel and general economic forecasts, and not hearsay.
Many people ask me what is the best car in the world and what would I spend my money on.
Well, at Malaga airport I think I have found the perfect car.
I booked an Opel Corsa or similar, and had various plans to get me, my daughter and three of her friends to the apartment.
Plan A was to squeeze into the Corsa – or similar, and Plan B was to drop two of them at the bus station and I would take the luggage.
There was a Plan C, which was to hire a larger car, but I’m too tight to do that.
Then Plan D presented itself – would you take a van with windows for the same price, the rental agent asked.
I ended up with a Volkswagen Caddy Life which seats five in real comfort and swallowed all our of luggage with plenty to spare.
It’s not the sort of car you would pick normally but on this occasion I was on to a winner.
The Caddy, along with its other competent competitors including the Ford Connect Torneo, Peugeot Partner, Citroën Berlingo, Fiat Scudo and Vauxhall Combo do a sterling job and if you find yourself in the same situation, with five people loads of cases, then consider booking one of these.
In Spain this type of vehicle is much more popular than here in the UK, with used ones being especially sought-after.