Fitness for purpose is fleet managers' number one priority
So says fleet sector research and benchmarking specialist, Experteye, following its latest quarterly survey. The survey, which studies fleet industry trends, is conducted in conjunction with Peter Cooke, Professor of Automotive Management at Buckingham University, and was based on a sample of 245 fleet managers and decision-makers.
The data shows that the number of fleet managers who cited "Fitness for Purpose" as the most important criterion has risen from 52% to 64% between Q1 and Q3 of 2010. Whereas, choosing vehicles based on their CO2 emissions has fallen slightly from 59% at the beginning of the year to 55%.
Other factors that influence vehicle choice lists include "Maximum Monthly Rental" in third place, with 45% of fleet managers seeing that as the key priority, "Vehicle Cost per Mile" in fourth place at 22%, 'Safety Features' at 21%, "A Vehicle's Brand Image" at 18% and "Engine Capacity" at 15%.
A total of 12% of fleet managers said they had no criteria for their vehicle choices and only 3% said they preferred vehicles from the EU.
'It's interesting that the focus has shifted so steeply towards ensuring vehicles are fit for purpose', said Rick Yarrow, managing director of Experteye, 'as this shows a determination by businesses that their vehicles must be effective business tools. And it's probably fair to say that this is as a result of companies preparing themselves for the challenge ahead as we move out of recession, but still face some potentially uncertain times.
'However, we shouldn't overlook the fact that if we combine the percentages of maximum monthly rental and vehicle cost per mile, which are both measures used to control overall vehicle expenditure, budgetary control is still key. Many contract hire companies will feel disappointed though that the use of cost per mile, which includes fuel, sits at just 22% when in the fleet sector it is seen as a far more relevant and accurate measure for policy setting.'
Professor Peter Cooke added, 'The strategic implication of ensuring vehicles are fit for purpose is that fleet operators are moving away from survival mode into a restructuring and rationalising mode, looking to pitch the fleet against driver requirements rather than merely providing mobility.'