More drivers then ever are abusing their company cars because fewer fleet professionals are involved in running a firm’s transport operations.
That’s the view of vehicle management company Fleet Support Group (FSG), which blames an increase in HR and procurement staff – who lack relevant expertise – being given the responsibility for a business’s cars and vans.
“In this time of austerity, if organisations are to control and reduce costs, then change is necessary as it’s the only way fleet savings can be achieved,” said Geoffrey Bray, FSG chairman.
“Change begins with reminding drivers of their responsibility to look after company assets and how much it’s costing in unnecessary repair and maintenance.”
He highlighted the case of a medical rep in a VW Golf who took her dog around with her. “The car was like a mobile kennel. The animal sat unrestrained on a tarpaulin over the folded-down back seats, but the foot and water dishes were in the passenger footwell. The smell was revolting.”
At the other end of the spectrum, one client has such rigid control over cars that any indiscretion leads to a meeting with the CEO.
Bray said some HR and procurement staff did a fantastic job, but there was no replacement for genuine fleet expertise. He argued many firms faced huge end-of-contract wear and tear charges because they weren’t cracking down on driver abuse.
But a spokesman for the BVRLA – which publishes the industry-standard fair wear and tear guide – said it had no evidence to back up FSG’s claims. “The more interaction whoever is looking after the fleet has with its drivers, the better for reducing abuse,” he added.
The most common wear and tear items are
- scuffed alloys
- scratched bumpers and other unrepaired impact damage
- cracked headlamps
- damaged door mirrors
- torn boot trim
- paintwork damage caused by company logo sticker removal
- Loss of keys and documentation.