Fleet decision-makers are being advised by FleetCheck to hold fire on what vehicles they adopt until better data becomes available.
The software specialist says fleets are facing their biggest ever state of policy flux due to the introduction of the new emissions testing regime - the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) - the ‘demonisation’ of diesel and the lack of information about company car taxation beyond 2020/21.
Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “At any time, any one of these developments would have created quite a high degree of inconvenience for fleets but together, they create a real headache.
“Essentially, they make it very difficult for fleets to know which vehicles to acquire and operate. Will these cars measure up in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 once the switchover to WLTP is complete? Will they be affected by the ongoing shift of sentiment and Government policy affecting diesel? Will their drivers suddenly be hit with very high tax bills?
“There are currently a wide range of variables surrounding these questions. Some of the blame can be pointed in specific directions – the WLTP handover is unnecessarily messy, and the Government has no excuse for the time taken to resolve the 2020 tax question.”
However, Golding says that none of this helps resolve the issues that fleets are facing. “It is difficult to recall another time when fleet policy was in so much of a state of flux,” he said.
Golding believes the solution that the being adopted by most fleets so far was simply to continue existing policies and wait to respond to developments as they occurred.
“The fact is that there is a scarcity of hard information to even make informed guesses in any of these areas,” he said. “To some extent, we are trying to find our way in the dark.
“Our feeling is that this situation will persist until later in the year when the 2020 tax information should be available, most cars on sale will hopefully have WLTP figures, and we should have a better idea about whether the diesel situation is stabilising.
“Until then, fleets have little choice but to take this triple whammy on the chin and put things on hold until we have the data required to make better-informed vehicle buying decisions. It is very frustrating but there is little alternative at the moment.”