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Fleets face cutbacks as economy worsens

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Fleet departments could experience significant cutbacks next year as finance executives target company transport policies.

According to a poll of more than 400 readers, Finance Director magazine found that 13% of finance heads see travel as the first area in which to slash costs.

A further 15% of finance directos saw travel as the second area set to face cuts, and another 11% viewed it as third down the list.

The magazine’s editor Andrew Sawers explained that fleet operators will face pressure to review and potentially reduce their fleets as the credit crunch continues.

“The good news is that a number of companies are not planning cut backs at all,” he said.

“But for those that are transport comes around the first or second area for consideration.”

He urged fleet managers to review their operation and renewal strategies.

“Managers will need to be thinking about whether they need to replace their fleets as originally planned or continue with an existing deal for longer, as well as monitoring measures, such as installing telematics,” he said.

David Rawlings, managing director of fleet consultant Business Car Finance, said: “Many of these cuts – whether you’re looking at more economical cars, alternative transport or the necessity of journeys – are just good house keeping measures.”

The survey also carried a warning for leasing companies and other fleet suppliers.

According to the poll, nearly half (42%) of finance directors are looking to renegotiate deals with their providers.

Mr Sawers believes that from now on fleets will be “driving a hard bargain,” and David Rawlings agrees.

“Leasing companies will need to be more competitive and make more of what they do available to more fleets out there,” Mr Rawlings said.

“Now is a very good time for fleets to start benchmarking service providers.”


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