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Honda finalises fleet restructure

Date: 17 August 2007   |   Author: Tristan Young

Honda has completed a fleet team restructure, revealed by BusinessCar in January, which began with the appointment of sales director Bernard Bradley at the end of last year.

Harvey Hughes (above) heads Honda's corporate team and oversees four departments: fleet dealer development, fleet sales, leasing and aftersales. He has been tasked with raising the proportion of the brand's corporate sales.

Honda currently enjoys the second lowest proportion of business car sales of a top 20 carmaker with only 32.3% of its sales attributed to fleet.

The new structure was revealed at the launch of the revised Accord. Honda expects the addition of an £18,600 SE (entry) model and a Sport GT (range-topper) to boost sales of the upper medium model in the corporate market in the final year or so of the car's life in its current form. A concept version of the next Accord is expected to be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show with the production version thought to arrive in the UK at the end of 2008.

The high-spec Sport GT model, on sale 1 September for £20,767, is designed to rival Audi's A4 in S-line trim. However, the Honda includes sports suspension, which BusinessCar can report after a short test drive significantly helps the Accord's steering feel and body control.

Hughes said that the Sport GT and SE models would further boost sales of the Accord.

He added: "This year we're the 10th best fleet seller and we're aiming to be in the top 10 consistently. We're aiming to sell 26,000 cars to fleet this year."

As with the Accord Sport GT, Honda is also planning to launch a high-spec Civic Hybrid after customer research. A new EX trim, including DVD satnav, leather and Bluetooth, will go head-to-head with the top-spec Toyota Prius.

Part of Honda's business car push includes a £13.1m investment over the next five years in the brand's dealer network. Honda originally set up its corporate dealer network in October 2005 with 50 retailers - this is now at 90.

The investment covers funding for staff recruitment as well as 50% of their salary for the first three years and a support team generating leads and booking appointments.

Honda is also planning a 'Fleet Charter' for its corporate dealers that will include minimum standards for aftersales, test drives and other business car requirements.