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Model reduction call labelled unworkable

Industry experts have branded a call to simplify car ranges as simplistic and unworkable.

Fleet management group ALD Automotive wants manufacturers to offer just two or three trims for each engine.

It believes that the wide choice of trim levels available is confusing fleet managers. The group’s pricing manager Pete Rossiter said: ‘It is a huge headache both for us in helping fleets to ensure vehicle choice lists are up-to-date and for manufacturers in attempting to communicate model line-ups.

"Carmakers should end the confusion and introduce clearly badged, defined and easily understood trim levels featuring no more than two or three variants per engine option."

But the move would create further confusion according to Martin Ward, national research manager at CAP. He says: "In an ideal world it would be great but if there were only two trim levels a lot of options would have to be tagged on which could make it more confusing trying to make up the right specification.

"Residual values would also suffer. It is better to have all the options tied up in one package and if there were only two trim levels everything would be the same going into the market. Drivers need choice and people come to expect a wide choice with everything."

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also believes that a wide range of trim levels is acceptable for fleets.

An SMMT spokesman said: "It seems a bit bizarre to be criticised for increasing choice and competition. Trim levels are clearly advertised by manufacturers and the majority of fleet operators do not seem to have a problem."

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