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Vauxhall Insignia: The year's biggest fleet launch (continued)

Date: 18 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

What sort of influence has the ever-growing need for lower CO2 emissions had on the design?

The pressure exerted on CO2 emissions is very important. Have we got a plan for an eco roll-out? Yes there will be, under the Ecoflex brand. That said, all of the range has been designed to be as CO2 'light' as possible.

How many do you expect to sell?

We are not predicting figures just yet, but it is fair to say that we anticipate a similar proportion to go to fleet as with the Vectra. However, we will always aspire to sell more of the desirable vehicles in all segments.

What cars in the sector do you see as the biggest influence or rival?

As outlined earlier, we have sought the expertise of fleet decision makers and we all see the key rivals as the Ford Mondeo and VW's Passat. However, the UK fleet market has seen a dramatic growth in the premium segment so we are also conscious of the BMW 3-series and the Audi A4 and the opportunity that Insignia can take sales from these and other premium brands. We are very conscious of cost and lease rates, though, and we understand the importance of our position in the market.

What is the overall feeling about the Insignia at Vauxhall?

We are very excited about it, not just for the Insignia but for Vauxhall.

The fleet driver plays a big part in this. The underpinning of the car is focused on company car drivers and an understanding of that market. We will be specifically targeting both fleet decision makers and drivers. During the launch process there will be activity and events aimed at the drivers.

Manufacturers often say they speak to the decision makers, which of course Vauxhall will, but we are going straight to the driver too. This is because we want people to be proud of their Vauxhall and be brand ambassadors. We want them to spread the Insignia brand, not just to their colleagues but also to their friends and family.