Fleet News

Pressure mounts as fleet role is squeezed

FLEET executives are facing mounting pressures in the office as bosses expect them to combine fleet responsibilities with other duties.

As running the fleet is merged into other roles within a business, creating time to manage vehicles has become the second most pressing problem facing fleet decision-makers, according to the GEE Guide to Company Cars 2002.

The principal challenge is reconciling the needs of the fleet with the demands of drivers, while changes to tax and legislation follow as the third most pressing issues. One fleet manager summarised how he saw his role as: 'Having the time to be father confessor to drivers and to learn all the new legislation before it changes, whilst doing the job.'

Looking to the future, fleet executives identify the growing Government focus on corporate responsibility towards drivers as a significant issue, with health and safety matters ranked in fourth place as a challenge for the fleet role.

Yet budget and expenditure is never far from the top of the agenda, with the GEE survey revealing that service, maintenance and insurance costs constitute the fifth biggest problem that fleet bosses face.

Falling residual values are deemed less important, while getting accurate carbon dioxide ratings for cars – despite rising in importance compared to last year – falls well down the list of priorities, just ahead of providing advice on the issue of free fuel for private mileage.

The survey revealed that three quarters of those who run the fleet are considering a change to their fleet policy.

One key area for examination is the provision of corporately-funded fuel for private mileage, a 'perk' that is taxed to such a high level that many company car drivers would be financially better off rejecting it, although 63% of employers still provide the perk to some drivers.

Businesses that have removed the free fuel perk are also removing fuel cards, despite the best advice of fleet experts that a fuel card remains an essential tool for monitoring and controlling business fuel expenditure.

According to the survey, fuel card provision has fallen from 72% last year to 61% this year, while 23% of firms offer employees company credit cards to fill up and 16% use pay and reclaim.

  • For a copy of the GEE survey email cherry.park@gee.co.uk

    Problems facing fleet decision makers
    Problem 2002 2001
    1. Balancing needs of company and drivers 49% 48%
    2. Finding time to manage fleet 41% 46%
    3. Tax and legislation changes 37% 35%
    4. Service, maintenance and insurance costs 35% 29%
    5. Health and safety legislation 32% 22%
    6. Falling residual values 32% 42%
    7. Drivers' responsibilities 32% 34%
    8. Coping with drivers' demands 32% 25%
    9. Accident claims 31% 33%
    10. Sourcing cars to best 31% 31%
    Source: GEE
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