Thinking CAP: CAP's manufacturer relationships manager Martin Ward scours the globe for the week's insider fleet intelligence
Down to an auction at Brighouse, just a few minutes from home, to see Andrew Hulme, managing director of BCA.
Despite it being a wet day in the middle of the school holidays, I was surprised to see so many people in the auction hall.
Andrew said that prices have been falling across just about all product and market sectors.
We chatted about today and the near future, and any advice he could give to his customers.
He said there were loads of scenarios but – and this is a very important but – there is still an active and fluid market out there. People are still buying and dealers are still visible and active in the auction halls.
There are two key ingredients to getting the most out of the current marketplace.
Firstly, ensure your vehicles are well prepared and presented, and that all documents are available.
Secondly, price to the market.
When a car is clearly below standard do not expect CAP Clean.
Be realistic and avoid the costly error of hoping that prices for sub-standard cars will miraculously be better tomorrow.
I spoke to some traders and they all felt it is a difficult market and is likely to get worse before it gets better.
Small cars are in demand, and larger ones are well out of favour.
A visit to BMW’s HQ in Bracknell to have a look at a pre-production 7 Series, which will be available in the UK from mid-November.
This all-new car is such an improvement on the current one, and BMW has put right everything that most people thought was wrong.
The exterior design makes it stand proud.
The high shoulder lines, the long bonnet and the boot lid that now looks like a boot lid add up to a stylish luxury car.
The interior is also a vast improvement, with technology including a new iDrive controller.
It is the rear seat that makes this car, though. It is so luxurious and ultra-comfortable that although BMW says it makes drivers’ cars, the new 7 Series really is for back-seat drivers – it’s the only place to be.
Over to Cheshire to drive the first right-hand drive Jeep Cherokees in the country.
This is not the first time I have driven this much-improved 4x4 – the last time I drove one was in December on an ultimate off-road experience driving across the Sahara Desert in 30°C heat.
The Cherokee proved just how good it was in extreme conditions and how capable it was in a real-life situation where 4x4 is not a fashion statement, but a necessity.
And now near Manchester on a wet and windy afternoon in a forest.
The weather and landscapes could not have been much more different, but the Jeep proved just as efficient over tree stumps and wet fern as it did over the three-storey high sand dunes.
Jeep has kept the model range simple – one model: Cherokee Limited, and one engine: 2.8 CRD, with a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox.
In these ever-more difficult times for 4x4s it will be only those that offer value, styling, reliability, reasonable economy, true off-road capabilities and a good level of standard specification that will weather the storm.
And with this Cherokee costing from £24,595 it seems to tick all of these boxes.