Mike Bray, country transport manager for East Sussex County Council, who suggested the scheme at the Association of Car Fleet Operators southern region meeting, felt fleets could save thousands of pounds in penalties for handing vehicles back early. But Jeremy Davis, national sales manager for PHH Vehicle Management, said there was a more simple solution.
He said: 'If a fleet hands a contact hire vehicle on to another firm, it will still be responsible for the lease and upkeep of the vehicle, so there are considerable issues there. But we sell a variety of leasing products and cover the costs of terminating a vehicle and providing it to someone else within the rental. The difference between a basic product and one that includes this is just a few pounds a month.
'But some fleets just focus on price. I once lost a vehicle contract over 6p. If you are more expensive, no matter what the service, then you lose the contract. If you really want to make things easier, there is a price to pay for it. However, if I have a fleet come and talk to me sensibly and there is a likelihood of a long-term partnership, then I might take some early terminations as goodwill. Fleets have to decide if they want low rentals or overall flexibility.'