FLEETS are gaining a louder voice in Whitehall as ministers recognise the importance of the industry to British business.
As a result, future Government policy is more likely to take account of the needs of fleet operators with greater recognition of supporting organisations.
John Lewis, director-general of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), says that his own organisation has been successful in gaining membership of groups which have day-to-day contact with Government departments.
This means fleets will have their own voice in consultation or when lobbying on policy, instead of being included as part of the wider vehicle industry.
Lewis added: 'We have recognised for some time that the fleet industry and, in particular, the rental and leasing industry, has tended to be put in the same industry sector as vehicle manufacturing and retailing – not what you might call a close match.
Now, however, thanks to the efforts of the BVRLA, more Government departments and agencies are beginning to recognise the role that we and Fleet NewsNet users play, not just as a part of the vehicle industry but as an industry sector in our own right providing the only real voice for the end user.
'Today we have seats on the Motorists' Forum, the Vehicle Industry Policy and European Regulation forum, the Retail Motor Strategy Group, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and the Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team as well as holding regular dialogue with the Department for Transport, Department of Trade and Industry, the Home Office, the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.'
He said BVRLA members buy a million new vehicles a year and as an organisation it is the largest buyer of vehicles in Europe.