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2019 to bring rising grey fleet and end-user purchases, says Honda

Honda is refocusing its fleet efforts to work more closely with fleet-end users as it predicts rising grey fleet and opt-out sales for 2019.

Marc Samuel, fleet sales operations manager at Honda

Fleet registrations may have been down 7.3% in 2018 but 2019 is expected to see more professionals using their own cars for business travel and end-users assuming more responsibility for fleet management, according to Honda’s fleet sales operations manager Marc Samuel.

He commented: “Fleet procurement is changing and for many, last year’s decline in sales will not come as a huge surprise. Some organisations have made the traditional, professional fleet manager job redundant in recent years, augmenting the position to be responsible for multiple other areas as well as vehicles, and in several examples we have found companies have turned away from fleet solutions altogether.”

This is supported by latest BVRLA data, which shows PCH is very much on the rise and continues to erode the traditional fleet contract hire and leasing market. Figures from the association’s Quarterly Leasing Survey for Q3 2018 show the personal contract hire fleet increased by 19% compared to the same period of 2017 while business car leasing was down 7.2%.

Honda has been increasingly focusing on opt-out and grey fleet drivers for the last 12 months, drawing on its Platinum Programme. This was revamped in 2017 and sees Honda working closely with its nationwide dealer network to help them thoroughly understand the bespoke needs and desires of fleet and corporate customers, for both new and used vehicle enquiries.

According to Samuel, the Platinum Programme is enabling the company to move even closer towards end-user customers.

Samuel commented: “By building relationships with end users at a dealership level, we are not only able to maximise aftersales services through keeping dealers involved at every stage of the vehicle lifecycle, but we can also provide valuable advice on vehicle maintenance and documentation to ease some of the concerns businesses have around grey fleets.”

Samuel added that Honda is seeing an increasing trend towards grey fleet adoption among smaller companies that do not have a traditional fleet function.

He explained: “By keeping grey fleet vehicles in the hands of professional Honda dealerships, we are also helping SME Business Owners and their associated HR managers to access and collect important vehicle data and enabling them to carry out their duty of care commitment to employees.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.