BT Fleet Solutions and the AA have celebrated almost three decades working together, and the signing of a new five-year contract between the two brands, with a mini conference in Oldbury.
The event included a discussion of findings from the AA and BT Fleet Solutions’ 2018/19 Operational Fleet Report, which reported high levels of frustration with ‘anti-diesel rhetoric’ among managers.
The report also explored the future of transport, such as alternative fuels, autonomous and connected vehicles.
The report, released at the end of 2018, found that more than one third of fleet managers expect to be using electric vehicles (EVs) within the next five years. However, the majority doubt the sustainability of such models for long-haul journeys or when transporting heavy goods. Instead, respondents stated that they see cleaner diesel vehicles as a means of improving air quality in the UK’s cities.
Using the 2018/19 report as a springboard, a panel of experts, discussed the fleet industry’s adoption of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). Other topics included the impact of future fuels on fleets, as well as how larger vehicles with typically heavier payloads, such as vans and HGVs, will need to adapt over the next five years.
Panel members included Edmund King, AA president; Stuart Thomas, director of fleet and SME Services at the AA; Henry Brace, managing director of BT Fleet Solutions; Gary Harrison, head of engineering at BT Fleet Solutions; and Beth Dawson, major projects manager at Fuel Cell Systems.
The event also looked back over the decades-long relationship between the AA and BT, who have worked closely together since 1990, when BT appointed the AA to manage its HGV vehicles.
In 2005, the contract was extended to cover the LCV fleet while, in 2003, the AA was BT Fleet Solutions’ first external customer.
The relationship has grown from initial maintenance on the AA recovery fleet to service, maintenance and repair on the 3000+ AA yellow resources.
The AA provides a wide range of additional products to assist the 80,000 vehicles that BT Fleet Solutions maintains, including: Fuel Assist, which provides restorative services after incorrect fuelling; and Key Assist, which provides mobile key cutting and reprogramming services.
King said: “Our values are closely aligned with those of BT Fleet Solutions, and we’ve achieved some significant milestones over our 30-year history. We look forward to even greater collaboration over the coming decades to deliver further enhanced services for our mutual customer base.”
Brace added: “Over the past three decades, BT and the AA have been at the forefront of every major change within the fleet and breakdown sectors. Our joint reputation for high levels of customer service has certainly paid dividends with our mutual customer base. Long may our collaboration continue.”
The AA relies on BT Fleet Solutions to provide fleet management and maintenance services for around 3,000 breakdown and recovery vehicles.
BT Fleet Solutions carries out 40,000 service and repairs for the AA every year, across 65 dedicated garages. The AA also has access to BT Fleet Solutions’ network of external contractors and specialist repair centres, along with 18 additional strategically located garages and servicing facilities including access outside of normal working hours.