Fleet News

BIK changes are No 1 fleet fear

THE Government has failed to settle fleet manager nerves despite abandoning its plans for a company car tax system based on private mileage. Potential changes to benefit-in-kind tax remain the number one preoccupation of fleet managers as they face the challenge of another uncertain year in 1999.

The annual fleet manager survey (co-sponsored by FNN's sister publication Fleet News and Lex Vehicle Leasing) confirms many of the fears expressed by fleet managers at the start of last year. But where the prospects for 1998 were characterised by uncertainty over the March Budget, company car tax, congestion, and inflationary pressures on fleet costs, 1999's survey reveals a greater degree of inevitability.

Fleet managers are now all too well aware of the Government's initiatives to tackle pollution and congestion, and have singled out the plans to introduce road tolls, workplace parking charges, graduated vehicle excise duty, and low or zero emission zones in city centres as among the most important issues to be addressed in 1999. Worryingly, four of the top five, and eight of the top 20 issues identified by fleet managers as 'most important' for 1999 in the Fleet News/ Lex Vehicle Leasing survey relate to factors outside of their immediate control, from the extra costs of driving in urban areas to the impact of the Euro, and to the move to two registration plate changes per year.

Top 20 key fleet issues of 1998:

  • Uncertainty over the shape of company car tax

  • Introducing road tolls to solve congestion problems

  • The proposal to introduce workplace car parking charges

  • A further fall in residual values

  • Introduction of graduated vehicle excise duty

  • Sourcing lower-priced cars from Europe instead of the UK

  • Zero or low emission zones in city centres

  • Preparation to avoid the millennium bug

  • Offering drivers cash instead of cars

  • Introducing driver training to reduce accidents

  • Downsizing to smaller cars with smaller engines

  • A switch to using alternative fuels

  • The impact of the Euro

  • Personal contract motoring schemes

  • Outsourcing of specific fleet functions

  • Becoming more of a strategic fleet manager

  • Widening vehicle choice of drivers

  • Fleet manager training and education

  • Switching from outright purchase to contract hire

  • The move to two registration plates each year

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