In a wide-ranging assessment of the entire motor industry at his inaugural professorial lecture, 'Nostradamus and the Motor Industry', held at Nottingham Trent University, Cooke picked out fleet for his most controversial statements. He claimed the role of car dealerships would drastically change as they became 'total mobility providers', moving away from just offering cars to services from train and plane tickets, to contract hire and fleet management.
Perk car drivers will shun their highly taxed company cars, he said, in favour of personal leasing schemes, attracted by the all-in-one service offered by their revamped local dealerships providing a similar hassle-free service to a company car. In turn, the contract hire industry will face turmoil as contract hire brands familiar to drivers, such as manufacturers and local businesses, take trade away from firms which only have a dominant name in the business sector.
The ensuing changes in the fleet car market will combine with many duties traditionally undertaken by fleet managers being outsourced to revamped local dealerships, which would force the re-invention of the fleet manager's role to one of mobility co-ordinator for all forms of transport. Cooke told more than 100 guests, including managing directors of contract hire companies, dealerships and motor industry bosses: 'The perk company car will gradually decline as drivers move away from the non-essential company car.'