Company car choice lists have been more restrictive since the start of 2011, according to the latest quarterly Company Car Trends research from GE Capital’s Fleet Services division.
The report, which questioned some 250 fleet decision makers, shows that an increasing number are using stricter criteria when it comes to deciding which models will be offered to employees – with the central thrust being on controlling costs and delivering value.
When asked which criteria were being used to set employee car choice, the answers in the first quarter of 2011 were:
CO2 emissions limit - 52%
Fitness for purpose - 40%
Maximum monthly rental - 40%
Safety features - 19%
Maximum engine capacity - 8%
However, 18 months later the criteria is as follows:
CO2 emissions limit - 70%
Fitness for purpose - 59%
Maximum monthly rental - 58%
Safety features - 21%
Maximum engine capacity - 18%
Gary Killeen, Fleet Services commercial leader for GE Capital UK, said: “There has been a lot of interest among fleets in re-examining and tightening up their company car choice lists over the last year or longer with employers using them as a direct means of meeting their key fleet objectives.
“At the heart of this, and very much as a result of the on-going economic conditions, is a desire to reduce expenditure.
“This is seen in the increased interest in ‘lower CO2 emissions’, ‘maximum monthly rentals’ and ‘maximum engine capacity’.
“These will help to reduce acquisition and running costs although, of course, there is also the advantage that most will reduce your carbon footprint.
“The wider inclusion of factors such as ‘fitness for purpose’ and ‘safety features’ also underline an on-going trend that we have been tracking for some time – an accent on the company car as a safe and productive business travel tool as opposed to the more perk-orientated, pre-recession thinking.”
Killeen said that he expected to see fleets increasingly use their choice lists as a proactive means to further reduce costs and increase the productivity of their company cars as work tools.
He explained: “If you apply the current legislative and taxation framework to the spread of models available to fleets and drivers today, you can see that offering the right car choices will have a greater effect on meeting your fleet objectives than perhaps at any previous time.”
“For example, within the lower medium sector, it is possible to find ostensibly similar vehicles at the same price level but one might have a CO2 output 50% higher than its competitor. That vehicle will cost much more for the employer and driver to operate.”
“For this reason, we expect to see fleets paying increasing attention to their choice lists and to revisit and revise them more often.”
Company Car Trends is a quarterly survey carried out for GE Capital Fleet Services that looks at the key issues facing car and van fleets. It is established as one of the most authoritative and widely respected pieces of research of its kind.