What do England footballers Phil Jagielka and Glen Johnson, coach Gary Neville and manager Roy Hodgson have in common? They all drive Vauxhalls.
]The manufacturer recently extended its three-and-a-half year sponsorship with the Football Association (FA) for another four-year term as it seeks to squeeze out every last bit of PR exposure from the high-profile deal. The new agreement runs until July 2018.
As part of the contract, it provides the FA with its fleet of 125 company cars, plus another two Astra Sports Tourers, two Movano vans and one Combi van to Wembley National Stadium on a related but separate contract (in addition to 50 cars for the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland FAs on individual sponsorship agreements).
The FA’s cars are driven by everyone from the players and national team coaching staff to regional coaches at grassroots level.
But this isn’t a free of charge branding exercise by Vauxhall; the fleet funding requirements are calculated upfront and subtracted from the final sponsorship fee the carmaker pays to the association – believed to total more than £5 million a year.
Vauxhall also performs fleet management duties, using a clone of its own staff car policy.
For the FA’s part, it decides on employee bandings and controls the accident management.
The dual approach works well and has resulted in significant cost savings, according to Peter Daire, the FA’s group head of sponsorship.
It has also reduced the fleet administration burden for the association, as well as ensuring its employees are driving cars more appropriate to their job requirements.
“The quality of the product is really good and they are bigger cars which are more suitable to our coaches who are doing high mileages,” explains Daire.
“The fleet management side has also made a big difference. We have someone in the finance team and the burden on them is far less now.
“We supply all the information, such as driving licences, and Vauxhall acts on it – 90% of the admin sits with them. Most of our contact is with Lucy Sherlock and she is worth her weight in gold.”
The FA has a number of employees who use their own cars for business purposes, the so-called grey fleet.
As Daire puts it, the association has to strike a balance between the number of cars and the amount of sponsorship money it takes.
“We could have thousands of cars, but we have to make best use of our assets,” he says.
“We have to get the mix between cars and cash right so that we are able to do the best for football in England. We are increasing the number of cars under the new deal by 12.”
The line is drawn on mileage to decide the essential cars and those which fall into the bracket of ‘nice to haves’.
The latter, if required to drive on FA business, use their own vehicles, but their mileage is very low and journeys are infrequently undertaken.