Fleet News

Practicality beats image in company car choice

WHAT do company cars say about their drivers? Very little, according to latest research.

Despite many fleet decision-makers believing their cars say it all when they drive into the company car park, a new fleet study shows that user-choosers are placing practicality over cosmetics when choosing a new vehicle.

Drivers in the survey have no desire to impress colleagues, with only 8% of respondents citing image as a reason for choosing a new model.

Instead, fuel economy was ranked as more of an influencing factor than tax liability, with the vehicle’s ‘suitability for work’ voted as the most important factor when choosing a new vehicle.

David Wallace, director of AA Business Services, which carried out the survey, said: ‘The urge to project the right car image may be limited to certain peer groups, such as middle-aged managers. For the rest, cars are just cars, serving many purposes, including getting them to work.’

More than 500 drivers were polled in the research, with almost two-thirds of drivers claiming they failed to notice or were not impressed by an upmarket vehicle parked in the next space in the office car park.

The results also showed a north/south divide. Drivers in Yorkshire, Wales and the West Country were more likely to buy for image reasons than those in London and East Anglia.

Only 6% of London drivers said office image was important, compared with 11% in Yorkshire.

Wallace added: ‘We were surprised that the south does not lead the way among the image-conscious. Perhaps in such an affluent area there are so many executive cars around that having one no longer has the cachet it used to.’

Cachet for cars

How important the following factors are to user-choosers?

Reason Very important Not at all important
Suitability for work: 49% 10%
Image in office car park: 8% 52%
Company/self presentation: 19% 23%
Tax band: 26% 26%
Fuel economy: 47% 8%
Suitability for car sharing: 11% 41%
  • Source: AA Business Services
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