By Carlos Montero, commercial director, FleetEurope
When it comes to choice lists, it’s not just running costs that are considered important; to user-choosers and a company itself, image is still a factor.
The way cars are marketed and placed in the media creates impressions and opinions with the public, aligning the vehicle with specific messages. These messages are not just about the vehicle itself but also about those driving it.
For a company, image and messaging is largely based on the industry in which the company operates. Some are naturally more susceptible to image than others. For example, wholelife running costs of premium and volume brand models may be comparable, but for a charity organisation, a premium brand would send the wrong message.
But company cars, although a work tool, are still used for employee retention, incentive, reward or benefit, therefore the grade and brand of car can be more connected with the driver in question than the industry.
Typically, we see SMEs offer a far greater choice on vehicle lists, as these are less restricted. However, they must still be financially viable.
Bigger organisations and corporations typically have a stronger grading structure, which can restrict choice for staff. Manufacturer volume deals or solus deals can also create a restriction or limit choice.
Wholelife cost is still the bedrock of all decisions, but the rest largely depends on the size of company, grade of driver and industry and all have an impact on the vehicles used.
There will always be one brand that is more desirable than another. In some circumstances, having a premium brand can do more harm than good and send the wrong messages to customers.
In the same way, cheaper is not always best and it can almost promote an image that your business is not as successful as it really is.
It’s a difficult balance to strike, especially with more products battling for attention in the marketplace, which is itself under increasing pressure to be cleaner and greener while still making the right impression.