Back in the old dunger: how does the press fleet work

Back in the old dunger: how does the press fleet work

I’ve got a few days without a press car because an (unnamed) dealer messed up the booking. Which means I’m driving around in my old dunger which I’ve only put 600km on in the last 6 months. It’s probably good to take it for a run anyway. Let me explain how the press fleet works for you:

Car distributors put on a press fleet. Some of the more best-selling models will have a large number of cars on the fleet, while other distributors don’t put a press fleet on at all. Cars like Ferraris, for example, sell themselves to a very small and select crowd, and they don’t sell enough to warrant the depreciation that would occur on one model by putting on one the fleet. That’s not to say that a couple of journalists wouldn’t get a brief drive for a day, but mostly if you get to try those cars out you have to fly to Europe where the market is large enough to justify it. In that case, you get on a plane for 28 hours, spend 15 hours in Europe testing the car, then get back on the plane again. Not fun.

With the run-of-the-mill cars the fleet often starts in the upper North Island, stays there for a month or two, then progressively moves south. Journalists are invited to tell the distributor what days they would like the car. Usually you get the car for 4-7 days so that you can do a proper test. This is why if you look through car magazines in NZ you’ll see the same press cars – there are probably only one or two available.

Sometimes cars will be sold from under you (this has happened once to me) – it’s where a distributor’s press car exceeds the number of kilometres they’re prepared to put on it, therefore they sell it and put another one on. Sometimes the only dates available are ones where you have another car booked. Sometimes (as happened yesterday with Peugeot and on Monday with Ford) you’ll be booked into a car and then the booking date will change because the car’s needed for display purposes or there was a delay with it coming from overseas.

So, at the moment from this Thursday, I’m booked right through to Dec 21st, apart from one day. I have almost all of January booked, and most of February. Because the distributors know what cars are coming up, they can book quite a way in advance.

And that’s how it works.

I’ve got a few days without a press car because an (unnamed) dealer messed up the booking. Which means I’m driving around in my old dunger which I’ve only put 600km on in the last 6 months. It’s probably good to take it for a run anyway. Let me explain how the press fleet works for you:

Car distributors put on a press fleet. Some of the more best-selling models will have a large number of cars on the fleet, while other distributors don’t put a press fleet on at all. Cars like Ferraris, for example, sell themselves to a very small and select crowd, and they don’t sell enough to warrant the depreciation that would occur on one model by putting on one the fleet. That’s not to say that a couple of journalists wouldn’t get a brief drive for a day, but mostly if you get to try those cars out you have to fly to Europe where the market is large enough to justify it. In that case, you get on a plane for 28 hours, spend 15 hours in Europe testing the car, then get back on the plane again. Not fun.

With the run-of-the-mill cars the fleet often starts in the upper North Island, stays there for a month or two, then progressively moves south. Journalists are invited to tell the distributor what days they would like the car. Usually you get the car for 4-7 days so that you can do a proper test. This is why if you look through car magazines in NZ you’ll see the same press cars – there are probably only one or two available.

Sometimes cars will be sold from under you (this has happened once to me) – it’s where a distributor’s press car exceeds the number of kilometres they’re prepared to put on it, therefore they sell it and put another one on. Sometimes the only dates available are ones where you have another car booked. Sometimes (as happened yesterday with Peugeot and on Monday with Ford) you’ll be booked into a car and then the booking date will change because the car’s needed for display purposes or there was a delay with it coming from overseas.

So, at the moment from this Thursday, I’m booked right through to Dec 21st, apart from one day. I have almost all of January booked, and most of February. Because the distributors know what cars are coming up, they can book quite a way in advance.

And that’s how it works.

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