Fleet News

Sourcing vehicles overseas 'not worth consideration' say fleets

SENIOR fleet decision-makers have ruled out buying cars abroad, despite fresh evidence that UK pre-tax prices for new cars are higher than anywhere else in Europe. A survey by Lease Plan of 100 finance directors has revealed that 63% felt sourcing vehicles overseas was not worth consideration because of the increased administrative burden involved. They believe that UK prices are falling, with 62% expecting savings of up to 10% within the next 12-24 months.

Lease Plan's own calculations suggest that price cuts of 15% would result in savings of as much as £300,000 for a fleet of 200 vehicles. Savings of this magnitude are persuading finance directors to stay loyal to their UK suppliers, with the largest proportion (38%) saying they would require savings of at least 20% to make overseas acquisitions financially viable, and 6% ruling out continental sourcing unless it produced savings of at least 30%.

Only 38% of finance directors are asking their fleet managers to investigate buying cars overseas, and only 31% said they would actually buy their vehicles in the cheapest EC countries. Howard Thomas, managing director of Lease Plan, said the advantages of buying cars on the continent were attractive, but were surpassed by the difficulties involved.

'Customers are looking at deposits of 10-25% and are not going to achieve any manufacturer bonuses or support in the UK,' he said. 'There are also the currency hedging costs. Who takes the exchange rate risk?' Fleets also face the challenge of maintaining programmed replacement cycles in the face of moving delivery times for imports.

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