Fleet News

New Astra to increase user-chooser appeal, says Vauxhall boss

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Vauxhall chairman and managing director Tim Tozer is confident the new Astra will boost the range’s popularity with user-choosers.

Around 70% of the current model’s fleet sales go to companies which operate one or two badge deals, with the remainder being taken by user-choosers.

However, Tozer feels this will change following the launch of the new car, which was debuted at the Frankfurt motor show in both five-door hatch and Sports Tourer variants.

 “I think the new Astra will be a user-chooser car,” said Tozer.  “I expect there will be a rebalancing of Astra sales, nothing dramatic, but towards user-choosers.

“I can think of one fleet which has 2,500 vehicles and 10% of these are driven by sales engineers: they drive Astra Sport Tourers, but we only have 4% or 5% of the rest of the fleet which is a totally free choice.

“Now we have the new Astra which is a car which is desirable, it looks nice, has lovely interiors, will drive in a very nimble, agile way, and has more interior space than the old Astra despite it being shorter and lighter.

“It’s a family car. We are not pretending we are going to be BMW premium, this is a family car positioned in the heartland of the market and it can be all things to every man or woman.”

He said features such as Onstar will play an important role in changing the profile of its fleet customers.

“Onstar is with 60% of trim levels in the line-up and is a super leap forward: to have a wi-fi hotspot in your car is an industry-leading innovation,” added Tozer.

The new Astra hatchback will arrive in UK showrooms in October, while the Sports Tourer will be available next year.

Both will be available with a range of petrol and diesel engines with power outputs from 100hp to 200hp.

These include the manufacturer’s 1.6 CDTi ‘whisper diesel’, which in 110hp form offers efficiency of 91.1mpg and 82g/km in the start-stop Ecoflex model.

Tozer expects the overall fleet/retail sales mix to remain at 65% fleet and 35% retail.

He added: “We’ve got a lot of very good cars right now, but I think definitively this new Astra is the start of something that will take the whole business to the next level.

“Corsa is a fabulous car, whether it is the powertrain or the touch and feel, and the next step in a couple of years’ time will be Insignia: the train has left the station.”

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