Vauxhall residual values strengthen after rental cutbacks
02 July 2012
Author: Jack Carfrae
Vauxhall has boosted its residual values in the corporate sector by sticking to its policy of cutting down on its rental business and focussing on core fleet.
Speaking exclusively to BusinessCar, fleet sales director James Taylor said: "The RV strategy is bold. We've taken 20,000 vehicles out of the short-term market, so RVs go up and lease rates go down. The short-cycle updates can go up as much as £1000."
He said the move had resulted in an improvement of £1500 on short-cycle RVs with the Meriva and about £500 with the Zafira.
Taylor also reported strong commercial vehicle business, much of which he put down to the new Combo: "We had quite a bit of pull-forward near the end of 2011 due to the introduction of EU4. The order bank for the Combo is up to 1500 vans.
"Cars are a little bit tougher. We're down 1500 cars this year due to contracts and where they have fallen, but we're about level year-on-year."
Taylor claimed the firm's three-day test drive offer had produced strong results, and the company is planning to increase it as a result: "We've spent a lot of time on this. It's far more of a company car-specific zone and around 40% of people buy a car once they've driven it.
"We want to do 30-40% more three-day test drives than last year."
This comes as the company announces the addition of its Tech Line trim on the Mokka crossover and the Zafira Tourer MPV.
Geared specifically for business drivers and already available with the Astra and the Insignia, Tech Line adds features such as satnav, Bluetooth and larger alloy wheels on both models.
Taylor described it as "the sweet spot for company car drivers" and claimed that the firm had experienced significant conquest business in the corporate sector since introducing it.
The cleanest Mokka will emit 124g/km when it goes on sale in November, 5g/km more than the lowest-emitting Nissan Qashqai, which will be its chief rival, although Taylor hinted at the possibility of an even cleaner model, likely to be bearing the Ecoflex badge, with the ability to match or better the Qashqai in terms of economy and emissions.
Taylor also said that Vauxhall was anticipating marginally more corporate sales from the Ampera plug-in hybrid than the 50:50 fleet retail split that it had originally predicted: "Interest has been phenomenal. People are doing their calculations and there's a lot of success in fleets where the company owners make the decisions."
Despite this, he admitted that the changes announced in this year's Budget had put "a little bit of a dampener on demand", as costs will rise for fleets running a plug-in vehicle in their fourth year from now.
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