Outright purchase fleets have seen expected values from their disposal vehicles plummet, while companies with leased vehicles are having to pay higher monthly rates to reflect the higher wholelife costs of vehicles they are running.
In the light of such dramatic changes, maximising prices achieved at disposal time is vital and could arguably be the most important element of a fleet manager's role. But achieving the best sale price is not something that should be considered for the first time as the vehicle appears on the auction floor.
The process starts when you order a new car, as model, colour and specification can all have a dramatic effect on the value of the vehicle at disposal time.
How the car is treated during its lifetime is a crucial factor in ensuring a good residual value, as buyers are likely to be drawn to the vehicle that needs the least amount of work.
Martin Ward, national research manager at used car market specialist CAP, will guide delegates through the complicated world of vehicle disposals at the conference and offer his predictions on how prices achieved for different vehicles might change in the coming months.
Sponsored by Manheim Auctions
Reasons to attend Hit for Six
Hit for Six takes place at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham on September 24. Tickets cost £49 for fleet decision-makers and £99 for fleet industry professionals.
Health and safety
AS an employer and fleet operator, where do your responsibilities towards at-work drivers start and stop? Will company directors go to jail because of driving mistakes made by their staff?
Where does the line lie between the end of your duty of care and the start of your employees' responsibility for their own actions?
These questions have become pressing preoccupations for UK fleet decision-makers as the Government pays ever closer attention to the dangers that at-work drivers present and the risks they face.
The Work-related Road Safety Task Group report called for tougher prosecution for employers who fail in their duty of care towards staff who drive as part of their jobs. And fleet industry rumours continue to circulate that the Crown Prosecution Service is looking to 'make an example' of a high profile company whose driver causes a nasty accident.
The potential damage to the corporate brand and the prospect of directors ending up behind bars have become pressing issues for fleet decision-makers.
The truth and myth behind these issues will be addressed head-on by solicitor David Faithful, a partner with law firm Amery Parkes, at the Fleet News Hit for Six Conference in September.
Sponsored by Town and Country Assistance.
AT their best, green fleet policies produce win-win situations for employers, helping the environment and saving money in the process.
At their worst, environmental fleet policies can cost significantly more than traditional fleet strategies without delivering any discernible gains to air quality or other green goals.
Gas-powered cars and vans are a prime example of this conundrum. Access the right subsidy grants, buy or lease the right vehicles, educate drivers to the company car tax savings from driving an alternatively-fuelled vehicle and ensure they refuel with gas, and the corporate bottom line can benefit as much as the environment. But miss out on the grant procedure, source poor quality gas conversions, and have no procedures to ensure drivers refuel on gas, and your green policy will deliver no environmental benefits, will add costs to the corporate bottom line and could even prove dangerous.
Yet the pressure to go green is only going to intensify, especially with the opportunity to avoid congestion charges in London by buying qualifying alternatively-fuelled vehicles.
So what is the environmental case in favour of liquefied petroleum gas or compressed natural gas? How do you apply for grants? Where do you get these cars serviced? What are the benefit-in-kind tax advantages to staff? And what are the prospects for residual values? All these issues will be addressed at the conference by Malcolm Noyle, green fleet development manager for Lloyds TSB autolease.
Sponsored by the Energy Savings Trust
IT'S a tough task being responsible for a fleet of company cars and vans.
On the one side, your customers, the drivers, are continually campaigning for greater freedom of choice in the cars they drive, while simultaneously failing to honour their responsibilities to check tyre pressures, oil levels and generally maintain their vehicles in tip-top conditions.
On the other side, your board of directors is looking for greater control of drivers and their driving behaviour, a lower environmental impact of the company's vehicles and year-on-year reductions in the wholelife cost of the fleet.
Reconciling these opposed parties requires the patience of Job, the diplomatic skills of an ambassador, and the hands-on practical knowledge and experience to run a happy, cost-effective fleet.
One of the best in the business at balancing all these issues is Dug Brown, fleet executive at Somerfield, and the man in charge of Fleet News' 2002 UK Fleet of the Year.
At the Hit for Six Conference, he will share the secrets that have made him one of the most successful fleet managers in the country.
Sponsored by Mazda
BARELY a week goes by without a leading company revolutionising its fleet structure by making its company car drivers technically own their cars.
ECO (employee car ownership) schemes are turning traditional fleet policies on their head by combining the benefit-in-kind tax advantages of offering an employee a cash allowance in lieu of a company car, while allowing the employer to maintain control of the fleet.
It sounds too good to be true, and some industry specialists are issuing forceful warnings about being beware of 'cheap imitations'.
ECO schemes are not new, but the first wave of adopters were very large fleets prepared to take a tax-aggressive stance. The plans were costly and difficult to implement, but they did generate significant savings for both company and driver in many instances.
More recently, these programmes have lost much of their bespoke nature and become far more mainstream 'off-the-peg' products, attracting an entirely new audience eager to shelter their drivers from the new benefit-in-kind tax system and any subsequent tax rises.
But how do ECO schemes really work, how do you stay on the right side of the taxman, how do you communicate to drivers that they will in future own their 'company' cars, what are the principal benefits, and where do the potential pitfalls lie?
Alastair Kendrick, director of PAYE and NI Solutions at Ernst & Young will tackle these issues at the Hit for Six Conference, discussing the essential points to consider and cover prior to introducing an ECO scheme.
COMPANY car tax changes always prompt employers and drivers to review the advantages and disadvantages of running company cars.
For employers who want to minimise their fleet involvement, and drivers who want a free choice of the type of car they drive, the lure of a cash-for-car alternative scheme is clear.
But how much money should you offer drivers in lieu of their company cars? Should this be cost-neutral to the company, or should you pay enough to enable the driver to select an identical car to his or her former company car? What is the most tax-efficient way of paying the cash allowance? What precautions should you take about restricting car choice to ensure the vehicle represents the company in the best light? How do you ensure opt-out vehicles are properly maintained? How do you make certain that employees insure their vehicles for business as well as private use?
David Rawlings, senior manager in Deloitte & Touche's Automotive Sector Group, will address such issues at the Fleet News Hit for Six Conference.
Book your place
Call Sandra Evitt on 01733 468123 or print off and fill in the booking form (in pdf format) by clicking here.
Once you've filled in the booking form fax it back on 01733 468346.
'Hit for Six' is sponsored by Mazda
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