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Fleets still in recessionary mindset, finds GE

So says GE Capital Fleet Services as its latest research shows that reliability, whole-life costs and CO2 emissions head the list of factors considered essential by company car operators when setting fleet policies.

The quarterly Company Car Trends research found that top of the list for more than half (53%) of the respondents questioned was reliability, although almost as many (48%) opted for whole-life costs. 

In third place, thanks to its impact on taxation and overall fleet performance, we saw the continued significance (32%) of CO2 output. Vehicle purchasing price, along with the discount received, is also seen as relatively important (30%). 

Residual values were named by more than one in five respondents (22%) while fuel consumption was cited by a similar percentage (19%). However, on many fleets, this factor is already effectively managed through choosing low CO2 vehicles. 

Interestingly, just 10% of those taking part in Company Car Trends said that corporate brand and image are essential when drawing up policies.


The overall results were:



Whole-life costs


CO2 emissions


Vehicle purchase price & discount


Residual values


Fuel consumption


Corporate brand and image



Gary Killeen, managing director at GE Capital Fleet Services, said: “This research really underlines the role of the company car as a practical working tool for UK businesses. 

“Image-based considerations are placed at the bottom of the list while practical factors such as reliability, whole life costs and CO2 emissions head the table. At a time when the economy is improving, this shows how fleets continue to manage with a mindset that is only just moving out of recessionary mode.” 

Killeen added that the responses were underlined in a further question posed within the Company Car Trends research, asking which factors were included in vehicle selection policies for employees eligible for company cars. 

He said: “The top factor named here is ‘fitness for purpose’ which is mentioned by 64% of those who took part in the survey, while 60% also cite ‘CO2 emissions limit.’ These answers very much underline our other findings.” 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 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. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.