The Team from Sandicliffe Motor Contracts were out in force on 12-13 June at Millbrook Proving Ground for Fleet News’ Company Car in Action 2019.
The ‘must-see’ fleet event for decision makers took place over two wet days that felt like winter was here, rather than ‘winter is coming‘, to quote Game of Thrones and coincidently Volvo’s display.
Pictured left to right, Philip Hudson (Business Development Manager), Charlotte Tracey (Sales Support), Laura Gretton (Strategic Account Manager), Paul Nichol (Senior Marketing Executive) and Kevin Dolan (Business Manager) at Volvo’s Game of Thrones display.
With around 270 models from 21 manufacturers, CCIA provided fleet decision-makers the unique opportunity to compare, test-drive and evaluate all the newest manufacturer models and technology on Millbrook’s unique purpose-built tracks – but what was CCIA 2019 really like?
Remainers vs Leavers
This year saw the PSA Groupé leaving Peugeot and Citroen behind, focusing purely on their Vauxhall brand for fleet. Nissan also left the party, leaving many wondering why the Leaf wasn’t being showcased again. Although Nissan didn’t display, we did spy what we believe may have been a Nissan Micra EV test mule on site, as well as what could have been either a Mini Cooper EV works that featured aggressive aero styling – so watch this space.
Manufacturers who remained gave us CCIA exclusives with first drives that included the New Jaguar XE, Kia e-Niro, Kia ProCeed, Lexus UX, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Toyota’s Camry. CCIA also saw key models appear such as the new BMW 3-series, Ford Focus, Mercedes-Benz E300de, Toyota Corolla and Volvo’s S60.
However, considering that the Government is actively pushing a lower CO2 vehicle agenda and penalising drivers opting for diesel via increased BIK rates, it was disappointing to see that there wasn’t a stronger show of EVs. It would have been great to have seen Tesla’s range, Audi with their e-Tron’s, Peugeot and their 208e and Hyundai’s Kona or Ioniq EVs, but considering none of these manufacturers were at CCIA, it left us feeling left out and let down by the manufacturers.
The event organisers did continue to promote the move to low and zero emission vehicles with the main hall being taken over once again by electric vehicle zone sponsored by BP chargemaster. But, from our observations, we calculated that around 25% of the vehicles available to drive were PHEV or EV, which worked out 3% less than the previous year’s mix of PHEV and EV vehicles. Again, somewhat disappointing to learn when the governments ‘Road to Zero’ strategy is encouraging fleets to adopt electric powered vehicles, yet manufacturers had not delivered on this message.
EV Power to the People
It wasn’t all down on EV power though, Porsche proudly displayed five out of their eight vehicles which were hybrids, and Mercedes, Lexus, Honda, Renault and Jaguar, all proudly gave electric power back with a stronger showing of PHEV/EVs compared to the other manufacturers at CCIA.
Jaguar XE (first drive)
The XE D180 RWD R-Dynamic is an RDE2 compliant diesel meaning you’ll save 4% on the BIK diesel supplement. Offering 130g/km CO2 and 46-50.7mpg (WLTP) with a P11D value of £33,300 the XE is sure to be a popular choice for many fleet drivers. Overall the drive is comfortably relaxed and the interior is what we have come to expect from Jaguar.
The now award-winning I-PACE stood out yet again and was the benchmark for all that is electric. Offering 0g/km CO2, as little as 2% BIK in 2020 and a range of 292 miles (WLTP), it provides a real-world practical EV solution for companies willing to invest. Not only does it offer a great range, the I-PACE can also accelerate from 0-60mph in an unbelievable 4.8 seconds! Its P11D value, however, starts at £64,440 for the 90k400S model. Read what Fleet News’ Simon Harris had to say about it last year here. Watch video.
Kia ProCeed (first drive)
Kia’s Proceed is not only pleasant to look at with its Sportback body and lowered stance, but it’s also a pretty good all-rounder. Those who don’t suffer from ‘BSS’ (badge snobbery syndrome) will benefit should they choose the Kia Proceed. Stylishly put together on the inside and out, the GT-Line comes with a high specification, CO2 from 110g/km and P11D only £25,565 for the 1.6 CRDi GT-Line 134bhp version. The version we tested was the 1.6 T-GDi GT 201bhp which has a CO2 of 133g/km and P11D of £28,425, but for that, you get high-tech with sport-spec, economy and performance that offers 38mpg and can achieve 0-60mph in just over 7 seconds. A highlight to the Proceed is the automatic paddle shift transmission. The changes are quick and more responsive than some of the premium and sports manufacturers automatic transmissions – highly recommended!
The Volvo S60 is currently available in the petrol T5 version (pictured), but they are soon to add the T8 hybrid engine, meaning currently it’s not that practical for fleet unless you wait for the hybrid option. The car is elegant and stylish inside and out thanks to Volvo’s Swedish flair, and although the S60 is a lovely relaxed drive and safe space to be in – it’s 155g/km CO2 for the T5 version makes it an unlikely choice for fleet due to a 36% BIK in 2020. With many of our team recommendations, if you are going to choose Volvo, pick the XC range – you won’t regret it!
Mercedes-Benz GLE (first drive)
For its size, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 300d 4MATIC AMG Line only produces 162g/km CO2, can deliver 46mpg, and will even achieve an impressive 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds. It’s full of tech, simply call out ‘Hey Mercedes‘ and you can voice command the car to pretty much do anything from heating your seats, to updating you on the weather and more. Its ride is comfortable, space is plentiful, but the 37% BIK is less attractive to company car drivers – but if you don’t need to worry about this with your budget, then it could be a great choice for your next company car.
The new BMW 3-series looks great, drives great, and handles impeccably as all BMW’s should. Pictured is the 320d M Sport saloon, it produces a low 113g/km CO2, but still retains top performance achieving a super 0-60mph time of 6.8 seconds, yet its BIK rate is only 27% – we believe this car will be a hit for company fleets.
The self-charging Toyota Corolla Excel Touring Sports Hybrid produces 83g/km CO2, a whopping 81mpg (WLTP) and just 21% BIK rate and P11D value of £26,945. The Corolla provides a practical solution for business, it is well built, the ride is smooth and it will undoubtedly be reliable. But don’t expect too much in terms of pleasure and enjoyment at the weekends – for your daily business drive this is a top pick, but if you’re looking for a driver’s car then there are better options available from South Korea.
Renault’s Zoe has been about for some time now, however, we never really looked into it. But with all things electric at CCIA, we felt it was time to do so. The Zoe is a zero emissions all electric 186mile ranger (WLTP) and surprisingly its not that bad of a car, its pretty good. If your business requires zero emission pool cars that beat clean air zone charges for city moving, then this could be the mini solution for you in the short term. The downside, however, is the £59 per month battery rental customers must pay to Renault. This car could be great and the roads would be full of Zoe’s if only Renault revised their business model on battery rentals (which they may be forced to do as more EVs hit the small market car sector).
The event was positively received by our customers, prospects and the SMC team with some fantastic new launches and first drives that fleets should be introducing to their fleet choice. However, as an industry media leader and influence, Fleet News’ CCIA needs to take greater steps to encourage more EV availability from the manufacturers who attend the event in the future. If the UK’s fleets are to fulfill Government expectations and achieve the minimum 50% of all new cars to be EV by 2030, then the industry media needs to put greater pressure on manufacturers.
Any make, and model
If you would like a contract hire quotation on any of the models featured or would like to find out how SMC can support your business mobility solutions, please contact our team using the form below.