Fleet News

Moving to an all-diesel fleet sees Target hit on tax saving measures

CHELTENHAM-based Target Marketing Communications has used next year's tax changes as an ideal opportunity to shift its policy to run an all-diesel fleet, and in the process has saved money and reduced employees' tax bills by more than 15 per cent.

As its fleet of 11 cars does not cover huge mileages, many of its drivers were already not likely to be too badly out of pocket when the change in rules came into effect.

Group financial director Colin Spencer decided to bring in a new system and also changed the fleet's replacement cycle. Cars will now be changed at 48 months or 80,000 miles instead of the previous 36/60,000 for petrol cars in order to offset the initial higher price of diesel vehicles.

The fleet has a smart image, as would be expected in the image-conscious advertising world, consisting of BMWs, Audis, Volkswagens and Saabs, but Spencer claimed that staff readily accepted the idea of diesel motoring.

He said: 'The drivers seemed to take it all on board. Ten years ago driving a diesel was like driving a tank, but not any more. It is an emotive subject and we take it very seriously. As a marketing and communications company, our image is very important.'

Having such a small fleet ensured the message could be broadcast clearly and without confusion, and Spencer said all the drivers had understood what he was trying to achieve.

He said: 'I held a meeting and produced a presentation for the drivers. We are trying to help them take advantage of the new system as much as possible. It's fairly easy to get across what is happening to 11 people.'

Target contract hires its cars from Arval PHH on a full maintenance basis. Company car drivers can choose the diesel car of their choice within specified rental price bandings.

The policy is just starting to take effect. Spencer said: 'Only a couple of drivers have needed to change so far. One has swapped into a diesel A3 from a Golf GTi.'

And Spencer is leading by example, swapping his Saab 9-3 to an A6 1.9 TDI, managing to 'upsize' while at the same time saving money. He said: 'For no additional money I can have an Audi A6. Looking at the emissions, the Audi is very low, and it is saving me about £50 a month.'

It illustrates how those with a good grasp of the new rules can tailor them to their advantage.

But Spencer believes it is not just the employees who will benefit. He said: 'The company will also save money on things like National Insurance and fuel scale charges. In total I believe the firm will be 10-15 per cent better off, mainly through the savings on fuel.

'We pay all their fuel, and have no plans to change that. We have learned from other local companies that three drivers will each take their cars to the same meeting if they have to claim back.'

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