Fleet News

Thinking CAP

Thinking CAP

TUESDAY

Down to a secret location in deepest, darkest Oxfordshire (OK, it was Henley-on-Thames), to have a look at the all-new Honda Jazz which goes on sale mid-October.

The car we saw was right-hand-drive and a huge improvement on the current car in terms of style and quality.

The Jazz, originally launched in 2002, has sold more than two million units worldwide with 161,000 of those in the UK.

The new Jazz is 55mm longer and 20mm wider, and although this does not sound much, the interior feels much larger than the current Jazz.

The rear visibility has been increased by 30%, the seat frames have been improved and the seat cushions’ thickness increased.

Cabin noise has been decreased by 1dB and we were told it is extremely quiet on tick-over when stationary.

And it now has 10 cup holders!

The new Jazz is already on sale in Japan and North America where it is called the FIT.

Prices and specification will be revealed nearer its on-sale date.

WEDNESDAY

I haven’t driven a white car for years, and then two arrive in one week – an Audi TT and an A3 Sportback. When you look around it is more than apparent that white has taken hold.

I have spoken to a number of manufacturers and all confirm the rise in white orders, but it is the premium manufacturers who are selling the most.

The more traditional fleet suppliers have only had a small increase of around 0.5%, but much larger than this from the more expensive brands.

White does look fantastic when the car is clean and shining in early August, but wait until those dark, gloomy days in winter when they are covered in road salt.

One example is SEAT, who in January to July last year sold just 26 white cars, compared to 880 this year.

White cars recently have not fared well on the used market, and are likely to suffer as more are sold new.

They are OK in moderation, but we have nearly reached fever pitch.

The two white cars I have been driving are also green – the TT has the 170bhp TDI diesel fitted and has been achieving 47mpg and the A3 with the TDI e engine has managed 54mpg, and only costs £35 per year to tax.

FRIDAY

Having driven past many forecourts recently I can’t help thinking that there seem to be more large 4x4s for sale on them than ever before.

Today I rang some good friends who have to sell these vehicles, both new and at specialist dealers, and all tell the same woeful story.

They are being selective on deals they are doing, and not buying any 4x4s for stock – unless very cheaply. They are trying to reduce stock and lower borrowings.

Some of the phrases they used were: ‘Nose-dived’, ‘the slowdown has been dramatic’ and ‘it has never been as bad’.

One told me that he has always underwritten his own brand when offered by the trade or other dealers, but no longer.

One, who has been selling off-roaders for years, is thinking about getting out of the 4x4 market completely and concentrating on small cars such as Fiestas and Corsas as he knows these will always be in demand – and their values will not drop like a stone.

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