Fleet News

Operators expect implications for UK fleet market from VW emissions scandal

Volkswagen cuts annual investment and increases focus on electric vehicles

Research from Sewells shows that 81% of fleets expect implications for the UK market following the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

More than 300 fleet decision makers in the UK took part in the Sewells Research and Insight survey immediately following the news of the scandal on Monday.

Results show the news of Volkswagen’s “defeat device” and resulting investigations could have dramatic implications for the market. More than two thirds (68%) of fleet decision makers believe cars in the UK will be affected and a large number (61%) will expect reimbursement for any resulting recalls in the UK.

Key amongst these issues is the trust fleet operators place in manufacturers. Responsible for 2.3 million car registrations in the UK*, fleets are amongst the most powerful and important buyers in the UK car market.

They rely on manufacturer claims when making car purchase business decisions. Of the 2.3 million company cars in the UK, 81% currently run on diesel.

Fleet decision makers place great importance on emissions figures, with 90% considering CO2emissions important and 64% considering NOx emissions important when adding new cars to choice lists. Furthermore, 84% look to manufacturers to cut NOx emissions in their diesel cars.

More than half (54%) of respondents said they are less likely to trust claims made by manufacturers in future. The impact on the VW Group was even more fundamental, with 62% stating they are less likely to trust the manufacturer’s claims. 

Of those currently operating VW Group models on their fleet, 41% of respondents are now looking to review their current orders from the manufacturer and half (49%) claim they are now reviewing VW Group’s position on choice lists. Three in every four (73%) are looking for reassurance from the VW Group that vehicles on fleet are not affected.

Two thirds of all respondents (67%) are now looking to all manufacturers that respective models on their fleet are not affected.

Simon Staplehurst, head of commercial insight at Sewells Research, said; “Fleet operators have a right to ask serious questions of manufacturers when news like this emerges. It’s hard to exaggerate just how important fleets are to manufacturers and how important diesel is to this market. Fleet managers make critical business purchasing decisions on manufacturer claims when it comes to fleets and trust is the bedrock of these relationships and choices.”

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  • Edward Handley - 24/09/2015 12:03

    The extraordinary thing about this scandal is the apparent ease with which VW were able to get past the laboratory tests and periodic vehicle tests, and that it remained undetected for so long. It really casts serious doubt on the legislation and the way tests were conducted. The Authorities will castigate VW but they should be equally embarrassed about their own failings. No one believes the official fuel consumption and emissions figures provided for new cars, because we all know that the laboratory testing regime bears little relation to real life. Manufacturers deliberately set their cars up to give the best possible figures in the official tests, even if the set up is not the most fuel efficient in real life - hence the after market business re-chipping vehicles to make them work better. The Authorities across Europe and the US should start by putting their own houses in order - VW got only away with this fiddle for so long because the powers that be left the door wide open.

  • Rob Chisholm, Applewood Vehicle Finance Limited - 24/09/2015 12:53

    There is a lot of truth in what Edward Handley (24/09/2015 12:03) says. But how likely are we going to see such an admission from the relevant authorities? My advice is don't hold your breath, But then the relevant authorities have a lot to answer for across a raft of issues in the whole transport, fuel and air quality debate.

  • DerekWebb - 24/09/2015 14:09

    So very sad, so much effort by good VW staff who have put this Brand at the forefront of car purchase decision making in the corporate and private world; the damage is done and it's the law who will decide the perpetrators fate. Those same people who built the Brand to its place before this horror show will try to do the same again and VW will get over this but I doubt it will ever be viewed as is was pre "chip gate"

  • D.r .beynon - 25/09/2015 10:12

    Only have to see exhaust emissions from diesel cars when going up hills .petrol cars have very little if any .this is easy to see and deduce

  • Sage & Onion - 25/09/2015 13:42

    I don't think fleets should make any knee-jerk reaction against VW group until all other manufacturers have declared their emissions testing procedures are squeaky clean (pardon the pun). How many have officially come forward so far to declare that no cheats were used in testing? But I also read another article that suggested that American cars were not as safe as European models in crash testing. Sounds like the VW scandal may be a way of burying bad news to me.

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