Fleet News

Thinking CAP: December 9 - Detroit Electric Car, Lexus CT 200h, Volkswagen Passat Congress

Thinking CAP - CAP's manufacturer relationships manager Martin Ward scours the globe for the week's insider fleet intelligence

Monday

To Amsterdam for the day to drive a prototype Detroit Electric car, which is based on a Proton.

Detroit Electric company was founded in 1907 and even Clara Ford, Henry’s missus, had one.

When the Detroit comes to the UK next year it will be available with a standard range of around 100 miles, or an extended-range version which will cover 200 miles.

Despite the car being only one of a few built, with wires dangling from the dashboard and a make-shift gear-stick, it drove really well. It’s certainly quick and, like all electric vehicles, quiet.

No prices, spec, or even a name have been decided yet.

But if it is priced correctly, the quality is good and there are enough strategically-placed dealers in the UK, it should almost stand as much chance as other more well-known brands.

Tuesday/Wednesday

To Nice to drive the sub-100g/km Lexus CT 200h.

This C-sector premium hatch is up against the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 Sportback.

It has a similar hybrid system to the Toyota Auris HSD and Prius, so the technology is well tried and tested, and has very few problems or warranty claims.

The CVT takes a bit of getting used to and you have to treat the accelerator pedal with respect to get the best out of it.

We tested the car in convoy, along with other equivalent competitor’s diesel cars, and found the fuel consumption readings from the on-board computers to be fairly similar.

The CT 200h has very high build quality with fit and finish every bit as good as the competitors.

Friday/Saturday

To Cagliari in Sardinia for the Volkswagen Passat Congress, a huge event that involved two chartered Boeing 737s from Birmingham, a 5am start, 233 people from the UK, a total of 700 guests from 20 countries, a two-and-a-half hour lunch, a fleet of 15 specially-imported German registered coaches, a two-hour 20-minute presentation about the brand, the company’s green credentials and Volkswagen’s market share, as well as a look at future product which I can’t mention due to a confidentially agreement.

What they hardly mentioned in this long presentation was the new Passat, which I did find a bit strange.

I do plenty of these new car launches and it’s the first time in a very long time that the cars improvements, design, and changes were not talked about in any detail.

A missed opportunity I thought.

The next day we drove the Passat saloon and estate around the very pretty and sunny coastline and hills of southern Sardinia.


Despite the enormous logistics, the brilliant Volkswagen events team got all 233 people there and back with no incidents or accidents, everyone fed and watered – well done to them.


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