Fleet News

Major new report warns of year of fleet uncertainty ahead

FLEET managers face a year of change and uncertainty as the company car industry prepares for a series of challenges that will tax decision-makers to the limit. In March, fleets will receive their first taste of carbon dioxide-based taxes with the new Vehicle Excise Duty regime.

This will be followed in September by the arrival of a new registration plate format, which could play havoc with residual values. Announcements regarding block exemption that will decide the future of the current dealership and fleet supply network are also expected in the autumn, while in little over a year's time fleets will be bracing themselves for the arrival of CO2-based company car tax. With such an atmosphere of change, the Business Car Expectations survey is predicting fleet managers will face one of the most challenging periods in their history.

The Centre for Automotive Industries Management at Nottingham Business School report, backed by HSBC Vehicle Finance (UK) and based on a survey of 365 fleet decision makers from a pool of 3,000 potential respondents, said: 'The pressures being brought to bear on the industry have, in some cases, continued from last year, but there are a number of new ones which simply did not exist or were just small clouds on the horizon a year ago. The agenda for change has accelerated from an already near frenetic pace.'

Although the survey found just one company in the survey saying that cars were provided solely as a perk, the arrival of carbon dioxide-based company car tax could force a shift to cash for car schemes, the survey claims. However, despite the fast-approaching changes, 69% of firms on average said they were not expecting changes to their car fleet structure or allocation policy in the next one to two years.

Report author Professor Peter Cooke, head of the Centre for Automotive Industries Management, said: 'The traditional role of the fleet manager is under threat, some would say disappearing. Except in a handful of the largest fleets, the fleet manager's role is changing to be much more one of total personal mobility manager.'

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