Fleet News

LCV management is poor relation of fleet

VAN fleet management is a decade behind equivalent car fleets and employers must take action to stop commercial vehicles being treated as the poor relation to business cars, a new report has claimed.

The report, 'Light Commercial Vehicle Trends: 2003', sponsored by Vauxhall Motors, says that commercial vehicles play a critical role in business.

Author Professor Peter Cooke, from the Nottingham Business School, said: 'LCV operations in many organisations are at a point where the business car was a decade ago. The LCV is driven by a small part of the overall organisation; few members of management have ever driven one, yet it is still a critical part of the business in the marketplace.

'The indications on future expectations are that the provision and operation of LCVs will become harder, and much more competitive, over the next few years. The LCV can no longer be seen as the poor relation to the business car; it has to be seen as an integrated part of the overall business mobility mix – and we must anticipate further expansion.'

Research conducted among 3,000 fleets, of which 310 responded, revealed that 57% offered no driver training at all, with small fleets being particularly poor in this area, despite concerns over employers duty of care to drivers. In total, only 8% of fleets polled have a full driver training programme.

However, the authors did find a high proportion of van fleets have formal guidelines on drink, drugs and mobile phone use while driving.

Cooke said: 'It is very easy to issue a company-wide proclamation. It is very difficult to be able to check up on enforcement of those claims. The smallest LCV fleets again have the lowest incidence of policy implementation. Although one hears arguments of 'our drivers would never do it', that is not a very strong defence in terms of the developing duty of care responsibilities.'

  • For copies of the report, priced at £500, call 01582 874372.

    LCV trends 2003 findings

  • 58% outright purchase their van fleet, while 36% use contract hire
  • 12% expect a change in LCV finance in the next two to three years.
  • Normal replacement cycles are measured in time rather than mileage, with three years the most popular length of use (28%).
  • 31% give drivers input into vehicle choice
  • 34% purchase insurance as part of the business car package with 6% having LCV specific cover.
  • 49% consider there has been no change in business attitudes to LCVs in the last two to three years, and 51% expect there to be no change over the next two to three years.
  • 37% expect to have more LCVs on their fleet within three years.
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