Fleet News

Thinking CAP: August 19 - Lotus, Volvo S60, BMW X3 and Ford Focus

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

Monday

Awful journey to Hethel, near Norwich, to the Lotus factory to meet the new management team and find out their future plans, which all sounded exciting and plausible.

This very British car company is now being run by a variety of Europeans, which is probably not a bad thing, but I wonder what the workers think.

On to Cranfield to Nissan Technical Centre Europe to drive the Leaf, Nissan’s electric vehicle.

The Leaf drives very well, it just glides along.

The acceleration is every bit as good as a 1.6-litre diesel and it seats five adults in comfort.

The one disconcerting thing about the Leaf was the range left in the battery seemed to go up and down at a wild rate. II assume this is a glitch in this pre-production model.

Wednesday

Up to a dull and dreary Aberdeen to drive the new Volvo S60.

The new badging system is a bit confusing and I expect some fleet managers will give it up as a bad job trying to explain it.

The car, though, despite its silly badging, is every bit as good as its German counterparts and now the S60 fits neatly into the A4/3 Series size band, whereas the previous model didn’t really know who its competition was, and consequently got lost on quoting systems.

The new car looks elegant, yet sporty and is not at all quirky; it drives well and has a high level of quality in the cabin.

Thursday

To BMW HQ in Munich to look at a pre-production X3 which goes on-sale in November and has grown in length by 79mm and is 28mm wider.

It now feels so much roomier then the current car.  The boot also has a much needed extra 70 litres of space.

Friday

Ford Focus product manager Paul Singleton and Nigel Sharpe, MD of Ford of Britain, came into the offices in Leeds to discuss the launch of the new Focus, due early next year.

The new five-door hatch and estate have improved dramatically in styling and design, just the same as the new Fiesta is a whole lot better than the previous car.

The new Focus is a world car, built and sold in every continent.

They expect to sell around 2 million a year worldwide.


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