Honda Civic's new petrol engine key to fleet
06 October 2016
Author: Tristan Young
Honda has spent the past 18 months getting its dealers fleet-ready for the launch of the all-new Civic under a plan scheme called the Platinum Programme, according to the brand's head of cars Phil Webb.
Speaking to BusinessCar at the Paris motor show last week, Webb said local smaller fleets were one of the core audiences for the new hatchback.
"We've redone our corporate strategy in the past 18 months making sure we're the manufacturer of business as well as public sector and Motability, and working not just with a handful of dealers but with all of our dealers so they can cover the local market," he said.
"Whether it's a five-car or 25-car fleet, we've not got a structure in place so they've got dedicated corporate demos to use for those fleets. We've still got half a dozen major corporate centres around the UK who will work with us on the big deals, potential daily rental and so forth.
"We're in process of rolling this out now, we've got 84% of the network signed up - it's called our Platinum Programme.
"What we're now doing is training the network, because unless you give them the knowledge and understanding it won't work," he added.
Honda aims to increase sales to between 60,000-70,000 units in the next couple of years, and is currently running 16% up on 2015 and expects to end the year between 12-14% up which would put it at 60,000.
Just over half of Honda's sales are to fleet.
Webb added that while the new Civic was available with a diesel engine, the new efficient 1.0-litre petrol engine represented an opportunity for Honda in fleet.
Honda managing director Phil Crossman, added: "We see diesel slipping away. Fleets are now open to a petrol conversation.
"We see the future as the fuel cell, the only question is how to get there, small engine, hybrid, EV then fuel cell. I think that path has taken four or five years to become clear."
Webb said the new Civic was "integral" to Honda's fleet offer: "We've got a task to do on the 1.0-litre, but we see that as a great opportunity. We'll start talking to our corporate customers in October and November and as soon as we can get hold of the cars we'll put it in front of the decision makers.
"Civic will be predominantly retail to start with but we will then look to work with business to get it in front decision makers."
He added that fleets would choose the new Civic because of its "robust look together with the reputation for reliability and the fact that it's built in Swindon".