The BVRLA studied the attitudes of 61 senior executives in the vehicle rental, leasing and fleet management industry, and presented the results at the inaugural Fleet Technology Congress held in July at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon.
Responses showed fleets are open to the idea of new technology. Almost half (45%) consider themselves to be early adopters, while 47% said they take a cautious approach. Only 8% felt they were stragglers.
Looking ahead, fleets believe driverless cars and alternatively powered vehicles will have the biggest impact on the industry, and connectivity and smartphone integration is to become a key growth area. Although only 20% said they see it as important now, 61% believe this will change over the next five years.
Opinions are divided on new safety technology, with fatigue warning devices cited as the most important new feature and futuristic features such as night-vision cameras ranked at the bottom of the list. However, cost remains a barrier for safety features, with 27% of respondents claiming they would be unwilling to pay extra for them and 55% saying they should carry a price premium of less than £500. None of those surveyed said they’d pay more than £1,500.
Commenting on the results, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: ‘Our findings suggest that some of the things that used to drive vehicle choice – such as driving performance, comfort and design – are rapidly becoming less important as fleets focus on technology and safety.
‘The BVRLA’s role is to ensure that regulation and the Government’s motoring agencies keep pace with these developments, so the fleet industry can continue to innovate.’