Fleet News

M&S in rethink over car provision policy

FUEL efficiency is of little concern throughout UK company hierarchy according to the evidence of one of the high street's biggest retailers. Marks & Spencer, which has a fleet of 1,150 vehicles, has revealed it has had to rethink its car provision policy which offered cash benefits for those who chose a more efficient car and a penalty for those who opted for gas-guzzlers due to a lack of interest among employees.

The evident complacency is even more surprising since the majority of staff also pay for their fuel. Marks & Spencer's experience shows the lack of concern goes beyond managerial level within the company culture.

Employees qualifying for a car are given a fixed monthly allowance. This is increased or reduced depending on a car's fuel efficiency. If the car does more than 45mpg the monthly cost to the employer is reduced by 5%. At the other end of the scale, if a car did less than 24mpg a 5% premium is added. With the typical allowance at £300 a month, the penalty/benefit to an employee would be about £15.

The scheme was held up by the DETR as an example of corporate responsibility in its report entitled 'Companies and cars: the way forward' published in 1997. Although the policy will remain in place for the time being, Marks & Spencer this week admitted it has had little impact.

Rowland Hill, company environment co-ordinator, said: 'The vast majority of our 1,200-vehicle fleet are perk cars so the policy didn't make much difference to people when set against their preference for size, number of doors and badge prestige. People supported the principle and then ignored it.'

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