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Flexible finance is the key to a truly successful fleet

SIR - I read with interest your article ‘Daily rental option for modern fleets’ (Fleet NewsNet, January 13) and I would like to stress how important it is for fleets to remain flexible in their long-term finance decisions for their vehicles.
What business in its right mind would, in today’s economic climate, commit itself to three-year leases for cars, without a no-cost way out? The economic wind can change direction without notice and in a retreating market that can only mean one thing.
The leasing industry will continue to ‘push’ long term car leasing because it is devoid of any alternative solutions.
However, with the current over-supply in the car manufacturing world, when the leasing company and car manufacturer meet whose best interest is at heart?
The solution, for the business that needs to keep its executives mobile, must be to hire the car for when they need it and give it back when they don’t.
Hiring/rental arrangements can be structured to meet every business need but they do need to be very carefully managed. The ability of a rental company to provide a business with an efficient, totally transparent and measurable service is a dilemma that most businesses have given up trying to achieve.
Gone are the days when businesses just signed off invoices believing them to be correct. The time taken to check and reconcile rental invoices is considerable and it is here where specialists who know their way around the rental processes can make serious savings for rental users and provide customers with a cost-effective service.

Tony Donnelly
Chief Executive
Goodwood Rental

SIR – One the most overlooked areas of daily rental is mid-term rental. The benefits of short-term rental are taken as read these days, as is increasingly the provision of longer-term solutions of a year or more. However, often forgotten, are the financial benefits to be derived by fleets of securing vehicles on mid-term rental.
Our experience through our Stopgap division over the past four years is that this option is often overlooked. Once the availability of such products is brought to the attention of fleets, they jump at the chance of a ready-made solution to cover contingencies as diverse as major accident repair work or the provision of a company car benefit while employees are working their probationary periods.

Roddy Graham
Leasedrive Group

Driving: what’s a professional?

SIR – I read with some bemusement in Letters to the Editor (‘Speeding: let’s not lose sight of the true facts’ Fleet NewsNet, January 27), when Nigel Grainger talks about ‘professional drivers’? If these are simply people who have to drive in the course of their jobs we would have to include taxi drivers.
We have five people in the UK who each drive in excess 25,000 miles a year servicing medical equipment, we periodically send them on RoSPA courses to maintain a level of awareness, but I doubt any of them would call themselves professional drivers.
As for the comments regarding accidents, when will people realise accidents have causes? Excepting acts of God it is mainly inappropriate speed and lack of attention to the task of driving.

Chris Eldred
European Regional Manager,

Loophole closed

SIR – In your issue on October 9 2003, you reported a loophole that could affect benefit-in-kind tax as a result of a Special Commissioners case (Vasili v Christenson).
In your article you referred to the fact that the Inland Revenue would probably appeal the decision but I can find no subsequent report that mentions any appeal.
Could you tell me if the appeal was made and any details.

Graham Hill
GHA Finance

Ed – The article related to a ruling in favour of a defendant who had acquired a 5% ownership of the company car. He claimed that as provision of the car was due to joint ownership, and not because of his employment, he was exempt from company car tax. The commission ruled against the Inland Revenue and in favour of the employee.
The Inland Revenue appealed and in a later edition, Fleet News reported that the courts finally found in favour of the Inland Revenue, closing the potential tax loophole.

Fleet News is delighted to receive readers’ letters. Email fleetnews@emap.com or write to: The Editor, Fleet News, Emap Automotive, Lynchwood, Peterborough Business Park, Peterborough PE2 6EA. Please ensure that emails include name, job title, company and company address

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