CAP manufacturer relationships manager Martin Ward scours the globe for insider fleet intelligence
To Gaydon to drive the ultimate five-door hatch, the new Aston Martin Rapide.
It’s unlikely to get on to many choice lists as it costs more than £140,000.
This four-seater is powered by a 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine that produces around 500bhp and what a car it is.
It looks fantastic, drives even better and has extreme luxury and quality throughout; it is a masterpiece, built by craftsmen.
The noise the exhausts make is unbelievable and certainly attracted a lot of attention.
Over to Trollhattan in Sweden to Saab HQ with new fleet chief Paul Adler and Neil Hughes, UK product manager, to drive some pre-production 9-5 saloons.
The 9-5 didn’t have any surprises; it looks like a Saab, drives like a Saab, has Saab quality, and will appeal to current Saab drivers.
The problem Saab will have is getting just a tiny percentage of those premium German manufacturers’ current owners to go into a showroom.
But there are other groups of customers out there that Saab also wants to talk to: Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat and Toyota Avensis owners should also be the target audience.
The 9-5 fitted with a 2.0TiD 160hp diesel engine produces only 139g/km of CO2 so is the one to have.
Fleet managers should certainly consider putting the 9-5 on the choice list.
To Fiat Group’s test facility at Balocco, near Turin, to drive a couple of pre-production Alfa Romeo Giuliettas.
The Italian company has pitched it fair-and-square against the Volkswagen Golf – it is similar specced and priced slightly below.
The Giulietta is packed full of new technology, but uses tried and tested running gear and engines.
Alfa bosses insist the quality has improved dramatically over the past couple of years, but admit getting the message over will be difficult.
As you would expect for a sporty Italian car, it drove beautifully, has probably the best handling in class and is almost as quiet as the Golf and Mazda3.
The choice of engines is good but the 1.6JTDM2 that produces 105hp and only 114g/km of CO2 would be the best fleet choice and costs £19,045 in Lusso trim, so looks good value.
It is good to see and drive a C-sector car that has personality, stands out from the crowd and has a well-known pedigree.
But you will have to wait until late summer to put them on the fleet.