Fleet News

Fleets told 'go your own way' over cars

A CALL for a 'fighting fund' to save company cars has been rejected by the contract hire and leasing industry.

The call came in the face of the revelation that thousands of company cars have 'disappeared' as more drivers opt for cash-for-car schemes.

As part of the campaign, employers are being called upon to do more to promote the benefits of a traditional company car.

Nick Brown, managing director of Black-i Vehicle Management, who has made the high-profile call, asked the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) for help.

Brown said: 'I want the BVRLA to establish a fighting fund on behalf of the contract hire and leasing industry that will be used to market and promote the company car.'

He condemned fleets for not advocating the full benefits of the company car when recruiting new staff, adding: 'The fleet and leasing industry should be proclaiming much more loudly the benefits of the company car as a cost-effective and hassle-free tool in the recruitment and retention of employees by not destroying its very existence with some firms actively promoting alternatives.'

However, John Lewis the BVRLA's director general, has rejected the call. He said: 'While Nick Brown is entitled to hold his own views, they are not those of the BVRLA nor would the association ever form a fighting fund to promote one type of service over another from its members.

'The BVRLA believes that fleet operators need to suit their access to vehicles according to their specific needs since there is no one-size-fits-all solution.'

Brown's action is part of an ongoing industry debate about the relative benefits of a company car when compared to taking the cash option, or moving to a structured personal leasing scheme.

In May, Fleet News revealed shock Government figures showing 250,000 vehicles have 'disappeared' from the company car parc, news which prompted a major policy review at the Inland Revenue into why the number is falling.

The number of tax-paying company car drivers plummeted from 1.6 million to 1.35 million in the two years to November 2003.

Industry figures suggested this might lead to radical changes that would make it less attractive to opt out.

Companies behind opt-out schemes, such as structured personal leasing schemes, have argued that fleets should embrace the alternative, not reject them.

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