Company car usage has “fallen dramatically” as technology continues to provide an alternative to traditional face-to-face meetings, research suggests.
Reports from the RAC Foundation and the Government’s National Travel Survey (NTS) released just before Christmas highlight the long-term trend.
The RAC Foundation report, called On the Move, also revealed a reduction in the number of company cars per 1,000 people, although its figures suggest this decline has flattened.
Annual mileage of company cars has fallen 18%, from 23,340 in 1995/97 to 19,190 in 2010, according to the NTS, with the business mileage element falling from 11,890 to 7,490 – effectively accounting for the entire reduction. However, the 2010 figures were actually higher than 2009’s 18,380 total and 6,950 businesses.
The subsequent recession will see the figures fall again: research from the Fleet News Fleet200 reveals annual business mileage of all vehicles (cars and vans), fell from 16,772 in 2010 to 15,914 in 2011.
The Fleet200 survey also found that 40% of fleets expect their mileage to reduce in 2013, versus 16% that expect it to rise. Likewise, 34% expect their fleet size to fall (21% forecast it will increase).
The NTS also showed average business mileage in private cars – the grey fleet – has reduced between 1995/97 and 2010, from 900 miles per car to 570.
However, the RAC report contradicts these findings, with the authors noting that there is “circumstantial evidence of some mileage having been transferred from company cars to private cars among the employer/manager group and also other groups”.
It does agree with the NTS’s overall assessment of company car mileage, noting a “dramatic fall” of 22% between 1995/97 and 2007, from 20,460 miles a year to 15,909.
On the Move also identifies a 20% slump in company car ‘ownership’ over this period, with a near-60% fall among upper-income ‘professionals’.
Much of the decline occurred between 2002 and 2005/07, following the changes to the company car tax regime. Since then, the number of company cars has started to stabilise.
Ownership among women is much lower than among men (who account for all of the observed reduction).
The fastest rate of reduction is from the peak ownership age range of 30-59.
Ownership among men aged 20-29 grew in the late 1990s, but has since fallen.
The slowest rate of reduction is among men in their 50s.
More follows on page two...