Martin Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationship manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence
Down to the Cotswolds for a Mazda fleet event.
James Hopkins, fleet and remarketing director at Mazda UK, is currently working two days a week at Mazda Europe’s headquarters in Germany, on a European fleet strategy.
The rest of Europe sees the UK as the leader in the industry and is taking advantage of its expertise to try and emulate our success throughout western Europe.
We drove the facelifted RX-8 which has received a number of external styling changes and, more importantly, an extended range between oil fill-ups – it was 1,500 miles and is now 6,000.
The ride is still a touch hard and not for those with a bad back, but it is the £400 a year road fund licence that will hurt more.
Iwona Pollard – residual risk specialist for Mazda Credit UK, part of Ford Financial – told me that sales of Mazda2 are exceeding expectations.
She has increased its predicted RVs recently as superminis are becoming more popular.
Flew to Valencia to drive the all-new Audi Q5 compact SUV, which will be in direct competition with Land Rover Freelander, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 and, of course, the latest entrants to this sector – Volkswagen’s Tiguan and the Ford Kuga.
In these days where fuel costs are upmost in people’s minds it is good to see that Audi is launching the Q5 with some sensible engines, including the 2.0 TDI and the 210bhp 2.0-litre TFSI petrol.
We tested both of these in Spain, and there is not much to choose between them – they are both economical, quiet and with more than enough power.
Prices start at £29,950 for the 2.0 TDI SE, which may sound expensive, but it has got loads of standard kit, including leather upholstery.
As with all Audi products, the Q5 oozes quality, with fit and finish and materials used to the highest standard.
We did not get the chance to take it off-road, but this sort of car rarely goes anywhere near mud, so why bother to get them dirty?
The Q5 goes on sale later this year. Audi UK expects to sell around 9,000 in 2009.
A great way to end the week – me, Silverstone racetrack and Nissan’s new GT-R supercar.
I was lucky enough to have the entire circuit to myself, so was braver than normal and pushed the GT-R to my limits, which are way behind the car’s capabilities.
On one lap I went very slowly, and it was just like any ordinary saloon – very docile and easy to drive. The GT-R is powered by a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 that produces 480bhp, and goes from 0-62mph in an amazing 3.5 seconds.
Nissan UK has taken 1,100 orders so far, which is two years’ production – first deliveries are due next March.
Who would have thought you could have put the words Porsche, Audi and Nissan, and I will go as far as to say Ferrari, in the same sentence?
Well you can now. The cost – £52,900.