Fleets discussed how Brexit and the general election have impacted their operations and whether they were adjusting policies to take them into consideration.
They also discussed their priorities for this year. This is a summary of the debate.
Brexit, election and autumn statement
- Brexit and the election has had an impact but primarily from a business point of view, not necessarily fleet. Cost of purchasing had increased due to the exchange rate fluctuations although this hadn’t affected car contracts just yet
- The autumn statement has had a bigger impact, resulting in policy changes regarding taxation from a cash or car point of view.
- Policy is being shaped to drive cultural change – moving people from cash into car because company cars are safer from a driver risk perspective because they tend to be newer and better equipped. Cash levels are being reduced to bring them in line with the car benefit.
- Fleets are also looking at mileage and job roles in order to change some drivers to become essential users to remove the cash option.
- There are question marks over ECO schemes due to the wording in the Finance Bill which describes a benefit as ‘by any means and howsoever provided’. One fleet with an ECOS has had no clarification from HMRC and is now resubmitting its scheme for approval. It doesn’t expect the scheme to be approved and has suspended the scheme until it gets a response. It knows that other fleets have ended their schemes while some have not taken any action.
Priorities for 2017
- Reduce cost by looking at fleet size and model type.
- Introduce more hybrid and replace diesels, especially as councils like Westminster begin charging for diesel parking.
- Manufacturers need to be proactive not reactive in advising fleets on the best powertrains to purchase depending on need.
- Telematics trials – data shows financial (10% reduction in fuel use) and behavioural benefits. Focus is to ensure staff complete their jobs safety while behind the wheel, not on their location so that data has been ring-fenced so the company can’t access it.
- Drivers are sceptical about telematics but what changed their views at one company was when there was a fatality and the telematics data provided evidence to clear the driver of blame.
- Insurance companies tend to need three years (or even five years) of data before they will reduce premiums because it works on previous experience. However, it can be switched around to put performance targets in place for the fleet to get money back as soon as they achieve the target. That helps them with the investment.