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Things we learnt at Geneva

By / 8 years ago / Features / No Comments

Premium small saloons offer fleets a new option

The huge number of small hatchbacks they sell is both a blessing and a curse (from a spreading risk perspective) for premium manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi, so it’s no surprise they are keen to shift some fleet drivers into the forthcoming CLA and A3 Saloon. Both look strong products, with sporty lines and big enough to attract user choosers to them from A4s and C-Classes. SM

 

B-crossovers are the next big thing

The B-crossover segment promises MPV practicality and SUV styling with the manoeuvrability and fuel economy of a supermini.

They’re ideal for user-choosers, and unsurprisingly most manufacturers are working on new launches, including the Ford Ecosport, Peugeot 2008 (above), Renault Captur and SUV-styled Fiat 500L Trekking all on display. Expect this to become a key growth segment over the next few years. AG

 

Cars are getting ever more connected

Volvo’s deal with Spotify means your drivers need never be bored again. If they have an account with the music streaming website, they can play its millions of songs through their car.

Online is the new big thing in vehicles, more than performance or design. But are most drivers tech savvy enough yet to exploit the email, internet and online systems on offer? SM

 

Lexus IS looks the business

Lexus has stuck rigidly to its preference for hybrid drivetrains over diesels, and the new IS finally makes the figures add up for fleets. Emissions of 99g/km and a competitive price will mean attractive BiK costs for drivers, and low sales targets will guarantee exclusivity for customers. A low-carbon GS hybrid will follow at the end of this year. AG

 

Hidden hybrids help space issues

Clever packaging means hybrid and electric drivers are no longer held back by intrusive battery packs.

Nissan’s European-built LEAF has gained a cabin baggage suitcase of space in the boot thanks to a new charging system, while Toyota’s new Auris has the battery under the rear bench allowing a segment-first hybrid estate. Lexus, meanwhile, has launched its first hybrid saloon car with a folding rear bench. AG

 

Audi isn’t resting on its laurels

Speaking to UK MD Martin Sander (left), it’s clear he thinks Audi still has a lot of work to do, despite the huge growth of the past few years. He thinks the firm needs to sell more Q models and A6, A7 and A8, adding that they have been able to increase sales on the back of the massive product expansion, without having to worry too much about older cars. Also, he’s put a lot of pressure on here and in Germany, and delivery times have been cut dramatically to a more manageable two months. SM

 

Renault is getting its mojo back

The new Clio is a cracking car, and the Captur looks a useful, funky thing, sitting between a Juke and Qashqai in size, and with low emissions and all sorts of stylish customization options. Now it has shied away from the bigger cars, Renault is definitely on a roll with what it has always been really good at. SM

 

The Chinese are coming…

Stylish, solidly built and designed to meet European safety standards, Chinese manufacturer Qoros made its debut at the show with a range almost ready for sale here. There are no right hand drive versions yet, but it’s a sign of how quickly China’s carmakers are advancing. AG

 

Log on and look at Dacia’s estate

Dacia doesn’t have large fleet aspirations in the UK, but with a similar load capacity to a Golf Estate, 99g/km CO2 emissions and fuel economy of up to 74.3mpg the Logan MCV can do them no harm. It’s an ideal solution for those needing an efficient, affordable way to move large loads. AG

 

The 3 GT is a niche too far

The new BMW 3 Series GT is a better looking car than the 5 GT, but it’s not sleeker than the fleet favourite A5 Sportback. It’s a car for those who don’t want a 3 Series Saloon, Touring or X3. We’d suggest if you haven’t netted them with those excellent cars, you’re not likely to. SM

 

Kia proves strength

The big show story might have been the rather unfortunate name of its concept car, the Provo, but elsewhere on the Kia stand it’s clear that the firm has a very strong, very young line-up now the new Pro_cee’d and Carens have been launched. UK CEO Paul Philpott wants to increase true fleet sales now they have a full range. Currently nearly half of the near 70,000 sales are to fleets, but he wants less Motability and rental in the mix. SM

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