Fleet News

Duty of care laws lead to fleet manager renaissance

The rise in company car provision appears to have slowed or even halted the long-term decline in fleet manager numbers.

Findings from GE Capital Solutions, Fleet Services' quarterly Company Car Trends (Q2 2007) report show that the number of companies with a specialist fleet manager is now 30.4% - a figure that has fallen from 36.8% in the fourth quarter of 2005 but has only dropped by a little more than 1% in the 12 months since.

Corresponding figures show that company car provision is continuing to rise - from 98.8% to 99.5% during the last year for users whose cars are considered essential for their job, and from 68.8% to 77.3% for non-essential users.

Cash for car schemes are consequently continuing to fall in popularity from 42.8% to 36.4% for essential users as a result.

Rich Green, managing director at GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services, said: “The factors that are prompting a long term rise in traditional company car provision - such as duty of care and environmental responsibilities - are also increasingly creating a job need for someone who can manage these issues on a day-to-day basis. Often, the best solution is a dedicated fleet manager.

“Fleet manager numbers have been falling for many years with the increase in cash for car schemes but, with that trend now reversing, it makes sense that the fleet manager should make a comeback.“

However, while Company Car Trends suggests that the fleet manager is taking daily responsibility for the fleet, other departments continue their involvement in policy decisions.

For example, finance functions have a growing influence over the fleet - with 25.4% responding to Company Car Trends compared to 18.6% in Q1 2006. The participation of human resources departments in the fleet is also apparent with an increase of 8.1% compared to 7.4% responding to the survey.

Mr Green said: “The structure developing in modern fleet management shows that a wide variety of departments - finance, human resources, procurement and others - get involved in key fleet policy decisions covering everything from acquisition methods to driver training. But these policies then need to be implemented and it appears that many employers are recognising that a fleet manager is needed to carry out this task.“

C ompany Car Trends is produced every quarter for GE Capital Solutions, Fleet Services, by an independent research agency and is based on responses from a sample of 684 respondents who replied to an online survey.

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