Rob Bailey, head of Lombard Vehicle Management, suggests some tips for 2009.
What do you think, do you agree with Mr Bailey's suggestions, do you provide cash-for-car schemes, are you considering extending your contract? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the end of the story.
Lease your vehicles
"Leasing comes into its own in difficult economic circumstances. It not only frees up capital at a time when the cost of funds is increasing but removes heavily depreciating assets from the balance sheet. This is even more important at the moment as residual values are in sharp decline."
Extend your existing contracts
"Uncertainty over the economy and a new tax regime being introduced in April means that although monthly leasing rentals are, on the whole, likely to increase, it is imperative that businesses take the time to consider their approach to vehicle funding and management strategically."
"A large leasing company will have the economies of scale to buy vehicles in cheaply and pass the savings on. A major provider should also have consultants with the expertise to develop the most efficient solution for a business’s specific situation."
Understand forthcoming legislation
"Under the new regime in April, cars producing more than 160g/km of CO2 will be subject to a writing-down allowance of only 10%, while those producing 160g/km or less will qualify for a 20% allowance. Leased cars in the higher category will have 15% of the relevant payments disallowed while those in the lower category will have no disallowance. This will make a massive difference. For example, a company could claim over £8500 on a sub-161g/km CO2 car – such as a 1.6-litre diesel-engined Focus - with a new value of £20,000 and 70% depreciation after three years. However, if the car produced 161g/km CO2 or more only just over £4800 could be claimed. The relationship between CO2 emissions and Vehicle Excise Duty levels is also being strengthened from April, with differences of up to £250 per year on cars in the two categories."
Whatever your attitude to the environment, a green vehicle policy will save you money. In simple terms, the lower the CO2 emissions, the lower its whole-life cost will be, and more than ever it is the whole-life cost – not list price or even monthly rental – which matters."
Put more vehicles on your fleet
"If you offer drivers a cash-for-car option you are probably paying considerably more than providing them with vehicles through a well structured in-house fleet."