The report, which questioned some 250 fleet decision makers, shows that an increasing number of fleets are using stricter criteria when it comes to deciding which models will be offered to employees – with the central thrust being on controlling costs and delivering value.
When asked which criteria were being used to set employee car choice, the answers were:
Now First quarter of 2011
Carbon dioxide emissions limit 70% 52%
Fitness for purpose 59% 40%
Maximum monthly rental 58% 40%
Safety features 21% 19%
Maximum engine capacity 18% 8%
Gary Killeen, fleet services commercial leader for GE Capital UK, said: ‘There has been a lot of interest among fleets in re-examining and tightening up their company car choice lists over the last year or longer with employers using them as a direct means of meeting their key fleet objectives.
‘At the heart of this, and very much as a result of the on-going economic conditions, is a desire to reduce expenditure. This is seen in the increased interest in lower emissions, maximum monthly rentals and maximum engine capacity. These will help to reduce acquisition and running costs although, of course, there is also the advantage that most will reduce your carbon footprint.
‘The wider inclusion of factors such as fitness for purpose and safety features also underline an ongoing trend that we have been tracking for some time – an accent on the company car as a safe and productive business travel tool as opposed to the more perk-orientated, pre-recession thinking.’
Killeensaid that he expected to see fleets increasingly use their choice lists as a proactive means to further reduce costs and increase the productivity of their company cars as work tools.
He explained: ‘If you apply the current legislative and taxation framework to the spread of models available to fleets and drivers today, you can see that offering the right car choices will have a greater effect on meeting your fleet objectives than perhaps at any previous time.
‘For example, within the lower medium sector, it is possible to find ostensibly similar vehicles at the same price level but one might have a CO2 output 50% higher than its competitor. That vehicle will cost much more for the employer and driver to operate.
‘For this reason, we expect to see fleets paying increasing attention to their choice lists and to revisit and revise them more often.’