Employers are moving to make drivers of company vehicles more responsible for their condition in an attempt to minimise end-of-contract charges and reinforce residual values, reports GE Capital’s Fleet Services division.
The company says that, among its customer base, a number of employers are either implementing new and more stringent driver policies in this area or tightening up on existing ones.
Gary Killeen, Fleet Services commercial leader for GE Capital UK, said: “The story of 2012 in fleet has been about how a large number of businesses are revisiting some of the basic areas of their company car and van schemes to see whether there is potential for greater control to be achieved. This is set to continue as we look toward 2013.
“Addressing how drivers maintain vehicle condition is just one of the ways in which cost can be controlled. Fleets are getting much tougher on drivers on a number of areas such as ensuring that vehicles are serviced on time, spare keys are not being lost, kerbed alloys are being repaired and minor scratches and dents are being fixed.”
Killeen added that failure to maintain any one of these areas can sometimes run into hundreds of pounds per vehicle when it came to recharges at the end of contracts and can knock equivalent amounts off residual values.
He explained: “Historically, many fleets have been fairly relaxed about drivers almost ignoring vehicle condition but this is something that is changing. There is a growing feeling that drivers treating a car or van in a shoddy fashion purely because it is a company vehicle will no longer be tolerated.
“What we are seeing is a tightening up of driver policy in this area and an increased willingness to recharge drivers for some or all of the amounts that their carelessness is costing the employer.
An important element of this process is of course in the continued education to drivers about the care of their vehicle in order to encourage them to spend time and effort on keeping the vehicle in good condition. ”