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11 Jan 2010

This week fuel card users were interested to hear that the current motor industry climate may make 2010 the ‘year of charm’ for carmakers trying to appeal to fleet managers.

In the words of John Lewis, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), manufacturers have launched “a charm offensive on their fleet customers” to offset a drop in retail sales.

The BVRLA were responding to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders for 2009, in which there was a “real slump” in the business car market.  Its share of new car registrations fell below 50 per cent for the first time in 16 years.

John Lewis said that this was due to companies delaying purchases of new vehicles and running existing ones for longer.  However, as the economy starts to recover, the BVRLA expects fleet car sales to exceed one million in 2010.

So how much ‘charm’ exactly do manufacturers have to emit to hit that figure?  We’re trying hard to fight the image of a Hugh Grant character taking the fleet industry out for dinner and telling it how beautiful it looks.

In reality, this ‘charm offensive’ may pave the way for some great offers and promotions, dedicated fleet-orientated advertising campaigns which are bolder, braver and sexier than ever, and more ‘charming’ vehicle designs.

We can think of a certain Irish pop legend who will be rejoicing the latter prospect – Bono.  In his regular New York Times column this week, the U2 frontman called for the return of the ‘sexy’ car design brought to life in the 40s, 50s and 60s.

While the priority for business and fleet drivers is of course the functionality, reliability and versatility of their vehicles, it doesn’t hurt for them to look good too does it?  Not that they don’t at the moment!
So those are our thoughts – charm away!


The Fuel Card Company encourages small businesses to choose fuel cards with correct fuel analysis.


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