By Alfonso Martinez, managing director of LeasePlan UK
From the 2040 ban on petrol and diesel vehicles to the introduction of clean air zones, WLTP and RDE, 2019 has been a year of pivotal moments for the automotive industry.
The impact of WLTP-based emission testing has been widespread for both fleet managers and manufacturers.
We’ve seen manufacturers permanently withdraw several models this year, while others have had to streamline their existing vehicle ranges and remove additional option packages.
For fleet managers and company car drivers, uncertainty around BIK tax and Brexit continue to influence buying decisions.
More so than ever before, fleet management companies
are playing an increasingly important role in supporting customers to manage these concerns, empowering them with up-to-date information and helping them to make small changes in their policies where they’re needed.
Another significant milestone this year was the introduction of the UK Government’s new Clean Air Strategy, which has fast-tracked the nation’s journey towards more sustainable modes of transport.
The effect this has had on the automotive industry is undeniable and will likely underpin the move towards more EV-based fleets in the near future.
Company employees are now pushing for greater choice and flexibility when it comes to work and travel, with many opting for alternative fuels and more agile ways of working to reduce costs and business mileage.
INCREASED UPTAKE OF FLEET SOFTWARE
At the same time, larger/commercial fleets are taking a fresh look at the way they operate, leading to an uptake in data-powered fleet software such as telematics.
The move towards increased digitalisation within automotive is crucial; access to better data supports safety, sustainability and compliance across a company’s fleet, and next year we expect to see a significant increase in the number of companies integrating fleet software into their management processes.
We’ve seen great progress in the journey of the EV this year. The number of vehicles on the road across the UK continues to grow, alongside an increase in confidence around the EV’s place in the future fleet.
LeasePlan’s 2019 Mobility Monitor, published in October this year, showed that public understanding of the benefits of electric driving is growing, especially those related to the environment.
Going forward, fleet providers need to focus on supporting fleet managers and drivers on how to choose the best option for them. This includes educating them about the wholelife costs of a vehicle – as many people still choose to focus on the headline sticker price, rather than looking at the many other costs involved such as taxes and vehicle depreciation.
But with Brexit looming, so much remains in the hypothetical, meaning that making predictions for the upcoming year is almost impossible.