Fleet News

Spec change problems bring call for vehicle codes

FLEET managers are struggling to keep pace with manufacturers' frequent specification and trim changes, creating problems at both acquisition and disposal of cars. As a result, the Association of Car Fleet Operators is to survey manufacturers on the viability of providing a code for each individual car, detailing precisely its make, model, specification and equipment.

Barry Lingard, fleet manager at electronic entertainment supply company BLMS, part of the Bass Group, which runs 1,350 cars, raised the issue at ACFO's annual meeting, saying the problem was getting worse as manufacturers upgraded model year specifications with half-year changes, and even more frequently in some cases.

'When a manufacturer introduces a standard specification they do not list it anywhere, so you don't know the exact specification unless they list every item on the car,' he said. This creates valuation problems at disposal, since two apparently identical 1998 R-registered LS or LX models may have different equipment if the manufacturer decides to add items such as air conditioning or a CD player as standard during the model year.

Lingard believes manufacturers must give each car an individual code when it leaves the factory, detailing all equipment fitted ù codes certainly exist which detail the model, place and date of production. ACFO will now have discussions with manufacturers to consider possible routes forward.

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