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LETTERS to Fleet News editor Martyn Moore.

Do not underestimate franchises

I READ with interest the article ‘Daily rental franchises: Getting the balance right’ (Fleet News, April 12).

As a car rental operator which has been established for over 50 years, Budget Rent-a-Car has built a strong and successful global brand with franchise partners at the heart of its business.

Budget has over 60 locations across the UK, of which 90% are franchised, so we understand the importance of ensuring service consistency across the network. This can be achieved, whether a location is corporate or franchise, providing that quality standards are centrally monitored and strict guidelines followed.

If anything, our partner franchises – the majority of whom we have been working with for more than 15 years – are more dedicated to delivering excellence in customer service. Their business and livelihood is at stake if a high standard is not upheld.

In addition, you cannot underestimate the benefit of local knowledge that a franchise can offer.

Within a regional network, this is extremely important – if a business knows the local market, they can react to changes immediately and respond to customer needs accordingly.

For franchises in particular, the retail customer is at the core of their success, so we would urge fleet operators not to overlook these thriving businesses.

DES MCCANN
Director of UK network and operations, Budget Rent-a-Car

Treat 4x4 double-cabs as a special case

WE understand that the new van taxation is aimed primarily at the 4x4 double-cab driver, and the government claims the only way to bring all these drivers back into the company car taxation net is to penalise all the other van drivers and tax them all the same.

How about a simple solution? Create a VED band which covers all these vehicles and no others, and maybe band them as ‘Y’. It seems a simple and logical solution when you think about it – after all, they singled out ‘G’ band for this and next year’s budget.

It is totally unfair that a driver with a car-derived van with only two seats and no real comfort is expected to pay the same amount of tax as the driver of a typical small family saloon vehicle with four or five seats, 145g/km emissions, Euro IV diesel engine, and all the comforts of home.

The car driver can take his family out for the day or pick up visitors from the train while the poor van driver cannot, and typically would only use the vehicle for maybe two private journeys per week, for example to the supermarket.

There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

ANN DUKANOVIC
Fleet manager, Kaba Door Systems

Motorvate words butter no parsnips

THE old adage ‘fine words butter no parsnips’ springs to mind when reading that Motorvate is to be revived and relaunched and that fleets can sign up to what is referred to in your article as ‘a kind of environmental accreditation scheme’ (Fleet News, April 19).

While the word ‘accreditation’ should perhaps read ‘certification’ it was the reference to why the scheme floundered in the past that reminded me how grown men and women cried at the name Motorvate.

No, the scheme’s failure was not due to it being marketed badly, being the wrong scheme or just being ahead of its time, it was because it was an absolute nuisance to provide the information it required. In fact, it was virtually impossible unless you ran a few cars recording daily mileage figures. Throw in pool cars and relief vehicles and your chance of winning another star disappeared like snow on the water.

Of course, this is just a bit of history – the new scheme won’t be anything like that, so let’s hear more from the companies who have signed up to the new-look Motorvate and tell us how they are getting on. In the meantime, we watch with interest.

PETER KNIGHTS
General manager communications, Lex

Lack of information leaves us in the dark

I READ the article ‘Own up’ call on van mpgs (Fleet News, April 19) with interest.

As a company, we are putting a lot of focus on mpgs for sub-3.5 tonne vehicles.

Given that there has been very little information forthcoming from the main manufacturers (Mercedes-Benz and Ford in our case) we are having to work to mpgs based on history, which is not ideal. Can any of your readers share their experiences of what mpgs are being achieved on Sprinters and Transits (SWB, MWB and LWB)?

MARTIN WHITE
Operations manager, DHL Express

Cheaper to pay the fine

I READ with interest the speeding fines helpline (Fleet News, March 22) regarding a fixed penalty speeding fine notice which contained the wrong vehicle details.

The simple fact of the matter is that by the time he receives the fixed penalty notice, the driver will already have completed the notice of intended prosecution confirming that he was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence. If he therefore refuses to accept the fixed penalty notice because the make of the vehicle is wrong he will, in due course, have to attend court for a trial.

The driver will then be asked if he was driving the car and if he was speeding. Raising a technical point about the make or model of the car is unlikely to be enough to save him at that stage.

The courts have recently received a lot of guidance on loophole cases. Therefore, the best advice this motorist can be given is to plead guilty now, take the three points and save himself at least £500 in additional fines and costs.

RICHARD BROWN & CO
Motoring lawyers, Peterborough

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