Martin Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationship manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence
BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY
Over to Ibiza for SEAT’s first European fleet conference with Andy Webb, head of the manufacturer’s UK fleet operations.
The Spanish firm sees fleet as an increasingly important sector, as it grew 5.5% last year throughout Europe.
It aims to have more co-operation with leasing and rental companies. Improving training at fleet dealers is also a priority.
Berthold Kruger, vice-president of sales and marketing, told us SEAT has a long-term strategy backed with significant investment and plans to launch 40 new cars in the next 10 years.
He also said it was a difficult market environment in Europe, but was sure that the targets would be met.
Had a chat with Mick O’Neill who has a fleet industry job that on the face of sounds very unusual.
He is transport manager at Ann Summers in Croydon and is responsible for 350 cars and 12 trucks.
The cars are predominantly for party planners with Ford Fiestas, SEAT Ibizas, Honda Civics and Volkswagen Golfs taking the largest share of the fleet.
The drivers who have these vehicles are rewarded with better cars depending on how much merchandise they or their teams sell.
On several occasions, drivers have gone from a Fiesta to a Mercedes-Benz as they have over-achieved on sales.
Mick is responsible for purchase and disposal of all the company’s vehicles after four years or 80,000 miles.
I did ask him for some stories about the drivers, or the company, but none were forthcoming – it was, he said, just an ordinary job but the company did sell unusual goods.
Received the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ UK vehicle production figures which were the highest for 10 years.
So many people still think that the UK doesn’t build any new vehicles, but this is not true.
So far this year (January to April) the UK plants built 574,257 cars and 82,256 commercial vehicles, making a total of 656,513 – now that’s a good result, especially with more than three-quarters of them going for export.
Since I hired a Volkswagen Caddy Life on my holiday and was nearly caught out by additional costs including insurance, fuel charge, surcharge and supplements, I have heard many horror stories about people hiring cars in Spain and what is known locally as the ‘car hire rip-off’.
This is predominantly done by local companies who advertise their cars at what appear to be lower prices than the multi-national companies.
But when the customer gets to the airport, these companies are charging for extras that in most cases are unacceptable.
The main one that the hirer is completely unaware of is that they will have to find extra cash to pay for a full tank of fuel, which is not refundable when the car is returned.
The car rental business is less profitable than before, so some in Spain see this as the profit centre, but it is regarded in Spanish law as unlawful profit if the company does not habitually return the price of the fuel not used.
After a bit of research I have found the person to contact if you do have any problems.
Email Julio Cortes del Olmo from the Consumer Centre at email@example.com