Boehringer-Ingelheim's radical move to prioritise the European New Car Assessment Programme figures raises the stakes for manufacturers wanting to guarantee a place on fleet choice lists. The move is a UK-only policy for the German-owned firm, and coincides with an overhaul of its UK fleet operation. Drivers can choose from four-seat vehicles, but a restriction to only four- and five-door cars and 14 manufacturers will be dropped.
Tom Ryan, manager of office facilities and fleet in the UK for the firm, said: 'For manufacturers, some of their vehicles will be considered safe while others may not. We will look at the safety ratings of vehicles as well as their wholelife costs to see if they are eligible for our choice lists. If you are doing 30,000 business miles a year then you don't want drivers in cars that are not considered safe.'
Already the fleet has taken action over vehicle safety - removing a company director from a well-known MPV after its poor performance in last year's tests. But Ryan admitted there was a danger of the fleet manager becoming 'judge and jury' over vehicle choice and that the policy had to be carefully handled. All new vehicles on sale in the UK meet national safety requirements, with the EuroNCAP tests providing a more stringent check of vehicle safety.