From The Australian 18/7, yet another BA article, that had some great news at the end of it about what fleet buyers thought of the new BA Falcon...
FAMILY-SIZE COLLISION COURSE
For the fleet buyer, there will be keener competition among the fleet favourites -- the Commodore and Falcon.
Holden and Ford rely on fleets to bolster sales. More than 70 per cent of Commodores and about 80 per cent of Falcons end up there and 30 per cent of all vehicles on our roads are fleet operated.
A spokesman for one of the country's largest fleet operators, LeasePlan Australia, believes Ford has finally got it right.
The company's operations and IT director, Anthony Rossi, says most feedback on the new Ford is favourable "because fleet buyers wanted a stronger, more masculine looking Falcon". "I think the new Falcon answers those criticisms," he says.
"Some of the fleet buyers also wanted to see a more squared off look -- they don't want anything too left field. "
Independent fleet analyst Tony Robinson of Sydney-based Fleet Audit Consulting & Training, agrees.
He predicts that within three years residual values of later Falcons will be stronger than the Commodore.
Robinson was previously managing director of Glass's Guide, the industry bible on used-car values.
"There will be a glut of used Commodores," he says. "Commodore will be penalised because they were so successful in the new car market and because there are relatively few Falcons around, they'll be a shortage of used ones.
"Don't forget there are a loyal band of used Falcon owners out there and the car, despite the criticisms, is still good value. "
New Falcon prices are projected to increase 3-4 per cent, which will lift the base Forte to nearly $34,000. Rossi also believes the new car will help underpin stronger residual values for the AU.
Privately, the fleet operators say the AU III is a better built car than the Commodore and its reliability has been a strongpoint. In its early in its days the Commodore was dogged by quality issues but these were largely overlooked because of the all-consuming inertia of its success.
Rossi predicts the Falcon will claw back its rightful place as a true competitor for the Commodore, with the Camry and Magna also presenting strong challenges.
"And that will be a good thing for competition," he says.
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