By Rob Ingram, director of business rental, Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Last year, we commissioned research among 2,000 UK drivers.
It found that almost two-thirds (65%) had changed their motoring habits in light of the recession and rising fuel costs: 30% of motorists use their car only for essential trips and more than a third of households (35%) have downsized to one vehicle.
In addition, according to the RAC Foundation’s recent On the Move report, the UK’s average motoring mileage per head has not changed significantly for 10 years.
Furthermore, there’s evidence that young people are waiting longer to pass their driving test, and that changing lifestyles more generally are affecting car usage and motoring habits (e.g. cars being viewed as an appliance rather than an aspiration).
Should businesses be worried about this in terms of their own employees’ ability to stay mobile, given how many still rely on private vehicles to support business mileage?
I would say yes. Not only is relying on employees to drive their own cars for business expensive and potentially risky, the grey fleet is being winnowed away by general economic forces as well.
Businesses need to take control of how employees get from A to B. And if there’s a word to encapsulate what this all means, it’s ‘flexibility’.
Fleets are going to have to be far more creative in how they offer transport solutions, understanding how long people need a car for, why they need it, when they need it and, perhaps, even if an alternative such as teleconferencing or public transport might be more appropriate.
Mobility is a need that doesn’t just go away overnight – and employees expect access to a vehicle when they need one.
The challenge to business is in providing them with the least expense and hassle.
Hourly car rental through car sharing and car clubs is more popular than ever and demand for daily rental also continues to expand.
But it’s perhaps also time to start challenging the need for a journey in the first place, and if it’s really necessary, asking what’s the best way to make it.
In their private lives, employees are rethinking mobility. Businesses can and should be thinking the same way.