Fleet News

Thinking CAP: January 7 - Mazda, Toyota, Saab

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

Sunday/Monday

To Berlin and the Mazda Mirai 2010 conference, which was aimed mainly at dealers and Mazda’s own staff.

But James Hopkins, head of European fleet, invited around 25 fleet guests to hear about future plans.

The Shinari concept car we saw a few months ago will become the new Mazda6, with a few minor styling changes.

New engines in the pipeline, both petrol and diesel, will be as clean as hybrids, so the future looks very bright for Mazda.

Wednesday

Toyota’s fleet team chose the company’s UK parts distribution centre in Lutterworth to show us the Verso S – a B-sector MPV that will go head-to-head with the Kia Venga, Nissan Note, Vauxhall Meriva and Hyundai ix20, to name just a few.

The parts operation employs 118 people.

Around 15,600 pieces are picked, packed and shipped every day to 260 drop points from a building measuring 16,000 square metres.

Toyota claims to be the first to offer same day service: if a part is ordered before noon, it will be delivered by 3pm from Lutterworth or one of its five smaller sub-distribution points.

Parts from Toyota’s main warehouse 50 miles east of Brussels arrive every day so they have an almost 100% first time pick rate, which keeps dealers and customers happy and vehicles on the road.

Thursday

To Saab GB’s new HQ at Cranfield, near Milton Keynes, and its offices overlook the airfield, where coincidentally there is an ex-Swedish air force Saab jet fighter.

Just a year ago many people thought Saab was dead and buried, but miraculously it is still here, privately owned and going from strength to strength.

Paul Adler, corporate sales general manager, told us the company now has enough money to complete the development of the next generation products.

Sales are ahead of expectations, but this has not been an accident, but by having the right product and a very low CO2 engine available in the 9-3.

The 119g/km model is proving popular with fleets and company car drivers, and been a critical car in the survival plans.

Looking to the future, Saab intends to go into more partnerships to ensure it gets the best components from a variety of other firms, including a BMW 1.6-litre petrol engine to put in some of its cars.


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