Fleet News

Badge snobs driving company car choices

Prestige is becoming the norm, especially when it comes to the company car parked in the driveway, says new research from Sewells.

According to Sewells Research and Insight, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are dominating the choices when it comes to the next company car.

In the largest study of its kind across the fleet market, almost half (45%) of those questioned in the Fleet Operator Attitudes Survey rated the German power houses as the most desirable company cars, with the Bavarian Motor Works giant topping the list with almost a fifth (19%) of the votes.

“Yet we are also seeing fleet managers torn between delivering what their drivers want, which is everyday prestige, against what their budgets can deliver”, added Simon Staplehurst, Commercial Manager at Sewells Research and Insight.  “This is why Ford and Vauxhall continue to be major heavyweights when it comes to fleet, claiming almost a fifth of the votes combined when it comes to the most desirable cars.”

While these premium automotive brands are widely known for their aspirational positioning; the study, which questioned almost 2,050 fleet decision makers across the UK, discovered that employees are both expecting and demanding prestige when it comes to their next company car.

And with two fifths (40%) of fleet decision makers sourcing information from employees when making decisions about future company cars, this trend for everyday prestige has been reflected in the latest SMMT sales data, with drivers increasingly influenced by the ‘snob factor’, driving enjoyment and desirability, choosing premium German brands over their everyday counterparts.

Latest figures show Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have grown their market share over the last year between 13% and 15% each, while Ford and Vauxhall are lagging with 5% and 6% growth respectively.

Staplehurst concluded: “Our data is increasingly demonstrating a rising trend for everyday prestige when it comes to driving; with BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi scoring highly in our research.  People are demanding more, their expectations are higher and they are not settling for second best anymore.

“To deliver against driver demand, premium manufacturers are extending their ranges to include smaller and more economical products, making the brand more accessible and resulting in this shift towards everyday prestige – but at competitive prices.

“And although premium brand cars will cost more in the short term, the re-sale values are higher, making them a cost effective option for businesses looking to entice and reward employees with a company car.”

Rank order of car manufacturers that are best at providing vehicles desirable to drivers:

1. BMW – 19%

2. Ford – 14%

2. Mercedes-Benz – 14%

4. Audi – 12%

5. Volkswagen – 9%

6. Vauxhall – 5%

6. Toyota – 5%

8. Volvo – 2%

8. Jaguar – 2%

10. Honda – 1%

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  • Nigel Boyle - 15/10/2014 12:24

    One snowy winter and there will be no BMW or Mercs - un-drivable in the snow!

    • Tom - 15/10/2014 12:38

      @Nigel Boyle - apart from the fact BMW now sell xDrive AWD cars...

  • Tony Peters - 15/10/2014 12:38

    Still the quickest things on the Motorway in snow though.!!!

    • David (BMW Owner) - 15/10/2014 23:14

      @Tony Peters - and how many of the 365 days is that snow about in England!

  • Keith Payne - 15/10/2014 12:47

    Interested that Jaguar comes so far down the line perhaps the XE will change that

  • Personal Driving Coach - Duty of Care - Managing Occupational Road Risk - HSE etc. - 15/10/2014 13:05

    I wouldn't be seen dead driving a BMW. 'The Ultimate Driving machine?' Most who choose a BMW do so because (I suspect) they believe the mark matches their own (misplaced) driving competencies or quite the opposite, disguises the fact they know they are incompetent when it comes to driving. A disproportionate amount of deficient driving intellect I witness (as a fleet driver coach) is demonstrated by those at the wheel of BMW s.

  • Duncan - 15/10/2014 13:15

    "Badge snobs...". Worrying for companies if these drivers make any important decisions for them since they are driven by "snob value" and not logic and intellect!!. If perceived as an important company image issue then that is driven by logic.

  • Duncan - 15/10/2014 13:16

    "Badge snobs...". Worrying for companies if these drivers make any important decisions for them since they are driven by "snob value" and not logic and intellect!!. If perceived as an important company image issue then that is driven by logic.

  • Roger Winslow - 15/10/2014 13:46

    Eh, I drive a BMW infact we have two in the family and I resent your blinked and slightly narrow minded view. I have a number of driving qualifications and experience to my name and have had experience with a wide range of cars, with skills to match I thank you

  • Bev Barnes - 15/10/2014 13:52

    My previous comments are valid and timely. Skoda may not be there yet except the VRS and Superb.

  • Ste - 11/11/2014 12:14

    I really want a BMW, its in my english blood to want one, im a child of thatcher and consumerism, consumption and the endless pursuit of individual wealth and the symbols of wealth and i dont even realise it...for example i vocally mock perfume ads but really i want to live like a film star....so it follows with all the advsertising BMW have done through my life time absorped into my brain i know that if i drive one i will instantly be better than those around me, its my right. I own a BMW therefore i am better than you.

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