Vauxhall wins the mixed blessing of the Fleet Manufacturer of the Year

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Vauxhall wins the mixed blessing of the Fleet Manufacturer of the Year

Posted 2010/03/19 @ 08:00 AM

By Myles Kornblatt

This comes from the category of not quite news: Vauxhall was voted "Fleet Manufacturer of the Year" by the U.K. publication Fleet News. Exciting, right?

So why are we even bothering to mention an award in the U.K. that's not very interesting? Well looking at the bigger picture of U.S. and U.K. fleet sales, this may be a mixed blessing.

Fleet sales have become a burden for American automakers. In the U.S. the term "fleet" is synonymous with stripped-out rental cars. Once these thousands of low-optioned cars hit the secondary market, it lowers the value of the entire car line (i.e. it's hard to sell a brand new loaded Chevrolet Impala LTZ at $30k when the market is flooded with ex-rentals at a third of the price.) More recently U.S. carmakers have tried to curb their fleet numbers, and the vehicles that do enter the rental fleets have a higher initial value so they can be used as a sales tool instead of a burden.

The reason why Vauxhall receiving the fleet award is not quite so bad is because the U.K. operates slightly differently. The tax structure in the U.K. favors company/fleet vehicles more than the U.S. The percentage of fleet vehicles that enter business fleets instead of the rental market is higher. There is a slightly wider variety of cars available in U.K. fleets as more companies have fleet vehicles for employees at different pay levels. This creates a market with better ex-fleet vehicles.

Vauxhall is still not in the clear. While the obvious benefits of fleet sales are seen in the initial sales figures, it can harm the long-term company image. Vauxhall is still trying to shake off its perception of making stale cars brought on by the Vectra being the mascot for the middle-manager and the diesel Astras representing slow cops. Vauxhall now has an upgraded lineup with much more exciting vehicles, which means it really has to watch its fleet image. After all no matter how exciting the Insignia is, if the only people behind the wheel look like they belong on the cast of The Office (reference works for both U.S. and U.K.) then Vauxhall will have a harder time moving sedans on the retail sales side.


The coveted title - Fleet Manufacturer of the Year – has been awarded to Vauxhall at the 2010 Fleet News Awards held on Wednesday 17 March at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Fleet Manufacturer of the Year is not only one of the prestigious Headline Awards at the event, it is also one of the most coveted honours of the night as it is voted for entirely by independent fleet managers across the country.

Maurice Howkins, Fleet Sales Director for Vauxhall said: “We’re absolutely delighted to receive this recognition from our customers, especially in such testing times for the industry. We strive to provide our customers not only with a great choice of vehicles, including our award winning ecoFLEX range, but also with the best support network in the industry from our fleet sales and aftersales teams and our retailers”.

Commenting, Fleet News editor Stephen Briers said: “Vauxhall’s extensive dealer network, the innovative way it maintains its market position and its strong fleet model line-up, which includes the ecoFLEX green range, were behind our readers’ decision to vote Vauxhall as their fleet manufacturer of the year.”

Every year, the highly influential Fleet News Awards reward the best fleets, suppliers and manufacturers in the country for their hard work, great products and commitment to best practice initiatives that provide efficient, safe and environmentally-friendly transport solutions to drivers.

Vauxhall has been a mainstay of the UK fleet industry for decades, with a strong product line-up including the new Astra, Insignia and Corsa and the award winning ecoFLEX range.

The comprehensive vehicle range is backed up by a large network of retailers – more than 400 – to cope with any company’s geographical spread. The network is further bolstered by the Vauxhall Fleet aftersales team, who have helped Insignia and Zafira become the bestselling cars in their segments.



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