Martin Ward, CAP's manufacturer scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence.
Chris Horrell, product marketing manager from Skoda, came up to the office to discuss the forthcoming Superb.
He confirmed there will be three models – S, SE and Elegance.
The most popular model is expected to be the 1.9 TDI SE.
Looking at Chris’s early expectations of standard equipment, they do look to be fully loaded.
Prices and specifications will be announced on June 17, and are expected to start at around £15,500 with deliveries from mid-September.
Chris says they will sell around 3,750 units in 2009.
Lee Wheeler, Honda UK national leasing manager, also paid us a visit.
He says corporate sales are going really well, with 24,500 units sold in 06/07, rising to more than 32,000 in 07/08.
They are still doing particularly well in the public sector and sit in third place behind Peugeot and Vauxhall.
Coincidentally, I have been using a new Accord for the past few days. It is well put together with the interior oozing quality.
The front seats are probably the most comfortable I have ever sat in.
Whether it will join the elite manufacturers is unlikely, but they are certainly offering a good car with plenty of kit, at the right money, that sits in between the volume players and the German prestige brands in terms of image and desirability.
Another visit to the office, this time from Robert O’Connell, national leasing and affinity manager from GM UK Fleet.
Robert brought up a Chevrolet Aveo for us to look at. It is available as either a three or five-door, it is well built and looks good value.
The Aveo’s rivals include Renault Clio, Hyundai i10, SEAT Ibiza, Peugeot 207, Ford Fiesta and Mazda2, and it is this sector of the market – the large small cars – that are set for a bright future.
They will be the cars to have, as they are economical, seat five people, are easy to park and relatively cheap to buy and run.
We also discussed the launch plans for the Vauxhall Insignia.
Prices and specification are due to be released at the London Motor Show in mid-July.
The car goes on sale later this year.
Over to BMW HQ in Munich to have presentations on some future models, which I can’t say too much about.
Afterwards we went to BMW World.
We were shown the vast display of new cars and motor-cycles, technical and design displays and a whole range of other activities and restaurants and children’s play areas in this huge building.
Customers can collect their new cars from BMW World which is capable of delivering 250 per day.
We saw the underground storage area, and the most surprising sight was the amount of white cars all ready for delivery – almost 25%, which BMW says is not uncommon.
Is white about to reach epidemic proportions?
Down to Sussex for the UK press launch of the Ford Kuga and new Focus ST.
Ford seems to be doing a lot of things right at the moment, and with the Kuga designers having a blank canvas for both the interior and exterior they have got it bang-on.
On the road, the 2.0-litre diesel engine is more than adequate and is quiet and refined.
The Focus ST is still as good as it ever was, if not better.