Fleets get tough on company car choices
The survey states that over 72% of fleets now offer only a single or limited range of models to their employees. This is a significant contrast to a year ago when only three-fifths (62%) of companies offered their drivers a reduced choice of models. Furthermore, almost a third (29%) of employees are currently offered no flexibility on the options fitted to their vehicle. The figures suggest that as businesses across the UK have been forced to focus on their cost savings during the recession their employees are being offered less choice as a result.
Efficiency is now top of the agenda for UK businesses as the majority of respondents (58%) now base their choice of fleet cars on "fitness for purpose". This is closely followed by CO2 emissions (52%) and maximum monthly rental (45%). The positioning of "fitness for purpose" as the highest criteria underlines the fact that company cars are no longer status symbols – over four-fifths (84%) of all employees currently eligible for a company vehicle are required to have a vehicle as part of their role.
However, the survey did highlight one worrying trend, with 9% of fleets having not set any criteria for an employee's choice of vehicle. While this may be attributed to smaller company fleets, with cost savings high on business agendas, all fleet mangers should review their policies and criteria on a regular basis.
Gary Killeen, UK fleet commercial leader, GE Capital, said: 'The continuing issue of cost and the intrinsically linked benefits of being more carbon-friendly are of great concern for fleets. It is interesting to see that the pressure to keep costs low means businesses are making tough policy choices, and are looking long and hard at the decision to take more control of what cars their employees can and can't drive.
'With "fitness for purpose" and cost driving the agenda, the role of the company car is changing. Whilst there is certainly a variation by sector, employers no longer look at vehicles as a benefit to employees, but much more of a means to an end. We believe that all fleets should understand their total cost of ownership, not just the lease rate, and work with their partners to set policies to optimise operational efficiency while minimising cost.'