Fleet News

Drivers demand more choice as tax and enviro pressures increase

FLEET drivers remain loyal to their company cars in the face of environmental and tax pressures, but are demanding more choice in the vehicles they drive. A quarter of companies, for example, now run people-carriers, up from one-in-five last year, while 29% of companies have four-wheel-drive vehicles on their fleets, according to the 1998 Lex Vehicle Leasing Report on Company Motoring.

This discovered that businesses are operating a wider range of company cars than ever before, and that fleet managers expect the user-chooser trend to continue, with 6% of businesses actually upgrading the cars available to drivers over the past year. 'As the amount of tax an individual pays for their company car increases, it is only reasonable that they should have more choice of vehicle,' says the report.

Benefit-in-kind tax does not appear to be encouraging fleet drivers to swap the keys to their company car for a cash allowance, although 46% of drivers have no idea how much tax they pay for their car. This perhaps helps to explain why only 4% of drivers have taken up a cash option, despite half of the companies surveyed by Lex offering a cash alternative, although operational motives are also relevant.

'It is not a practical option for most company car drivers who are given company cars because they need them, not as an alternative to salary,' says the report. Company car drivers are equally dependent on a car for their private use, with an overwhelming 85% saying they would buy a replacement car if forced to hand in their fleet vehicle, but only one third would buy a new car.

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