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Vauxhall Insignia: The year's biggest fleet launch

Date: 30 April 2008

Vauxhall's new Ford Mondeo rival goes on sale in November and is 2008's most important business car launch. Here, Tom Webster interviews fleet director Maurice Howkins about his hopes for the upper medium competitor

Tom Webster: What sets the Insignia apart from its rivals?

Maurice Howkins: (Howkins pushed a set of the pictures towards me) Need I say more? It is an incredibly advanced piece of design. In October of last year we took a group of 100 fleet customers to see the car and we are confident from their reaction that it is a very good-looking vehicle that really stands out in this segment.

How important was the UK fleet market when the Insignia was being developed?

It is critical. The fleet market takes around 75% of the Insignia's segment.

We have longstanding business partnerships and it is important we get their input. For example, in August 2007 we ran a series of workshops with representatives of the fleet market who looked at trim, engines, spec and pricing. All this was done well in advance of the launch so as to give us time to take their comments on board.

Which sector of the fleet market were these representatives from at these workshops?

They were all fleet decision makers, some with major corporate fleets, some were from smaller, independent companies. Leasing, remarketing and rental were represented too.

Were they existing customers?

At the August workshop they were existing customers, but the group in October included prospective customers as well.

Have you had much consultation with the residual values experts?

Naturally they have been involved throughout the launch process - indeed they are continuing to be so. It is very important to us that we understand their needs and input.

What sort of influence has the...