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Unprecedented change brings both opportunity and optimism - FN50 2017 BVRLA view

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BVRLA membership has continued to grow throughout 2017 on the back of a successful 2016, which saw the association’s combined fleet rise by 5% year-on-year.

This increase reflects the continuing trend away from ‘vehicle ownership’ towards the more flexible and sustainable option of ‘vehicle usership’.  

There are now more than 900 members in the BVRLA responsible for in excess of 4.7 million vehicles. That’s one-in-eight cars, one-in-five vans and one-in-five HGVs licensed on UK roads.

Along with the wider automotive industry, our members are facing many challenges with the uncertainty of Brexit and an ever-changing legislative and regulatory environment. At the same time, we are handling the impact of technological revolution as we transform from an industry driven by mechanics to one driven by software and services.

Although challenging, many of these changes also bring opportunities.

BVRLA members are experts in using detailed fleet information to deliver added value – cutting emissions, reducing costs and helping prevent accidents. The increasing availability of connected car data will provide opportunities to do this even more effectively.

The Government’s air quality strategy presents a similar opportunity. Given a clear roadmap and realistic timetable, we know members will guide their millions of customers into an era of cleaner, safer and more cost-effective road transport. 

BVRLA fleets provide cleaner options for emission-conscious customers

The Government has stated it wants to see an end to the sale of conventionally-fuelled vehicles by 2040. The BVRLA believes 23 years from now, innovations in vehicle technology and design will inevitably deliver a road transport system driven by alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs). 

Drivers are already opting for cleaner vehicles, which provides a great opportunity for BVRLA members whose fleet is cleaner than the average UK car parc. 

The association’s Q2 2017 Quarterly Leasing Survey revealed that the average CO2 emissions for new car registrations across the UK were 121.3g/km, among BVRLA members’ that figure was 111.8g/km – evidence that BVRLA fleets provide cleaner options for emission-conscious users.  

If Government is serious about improving air quality now, then it needs to accelerate this shift by introducing the right financial incentives and by providing a suitable regulatory environment and robust national infrastructure. 

With the right support, the fleet industry can help to drive adoption of AFVs far quicker, contributing greatly to the reduction of harmful emissions and improving air quality across the UK.

Data is fast becoming the new currency

Connectivity and data are having a significant impact upon the traditional economies and business models of the automotive industry, rendering some of the legal frameworks that have served the fleet sector well for many years as no longer fit for purpose. 

The BVRLA believes regulation surrounding both data protection and competition law needs to be updated to be relevant in the connected vehicle age. In addition, technical or ‘type approval’ regulations surrounding the ways vehicles manage, share and secure data are also in need of an update. 

These three legal strands will have a major impact on the way fleet operators access and use vehicle and driver data in the future and Government must work with the industry to create the right environment to facilitate fair trading – for the benefit of both the industry and the driver. 

Author: Gerry Keaney (pictured), chief executive, BVRLA

> READ MORE - the 2017 FN50 supplement

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