Europcar UK has published a new white paper exploring the evolving world of vehicle ‘usership’. Natalie Middleton looks at the main findings.
1. Company car still much valued benefit
The ‘Charting a Safe Path Through the Minefield of Challenges Facing UK Businesses’ white paper – based on research carried out among 500 businesses – asked respondents their opinions on the best benefits to attract employees. The research showed that flexible working hours and fair remuneration ranked highest in terms of benefits to attract employees, as stated by 52.5% and 31.7% of participants. However, the company car still has a role to play in the total package for more than 1 in 10 businesses (12.8%). There does, however, seem to be a trend towards more flexible benefits – such as a travel allowance (14.4%) or discounts on products and services (19.2%).
The company car benefit is a higher priority for bigger businesses; it’s a key focus for those with 100 to 249 employees (21%) and more than 500 staff (20%).
2. Company cars remain dominant means of everyday travel
Fleet car operation is still a major component of business travel for many businesses with 60% saying their company currently owns or leases cars, rising to 66% for employers of 10-25 people.
Other than company-owned vehicles, the other most common methods companies use to keep staff on the move include grey fleets, cited by just under half (49%) of respondents. Public transport is used by more than a third (35%) of respondents, followed by car sharing (24%) and short-term hire (18%).
Less than half of respondents (47%) operate a car pool for employees. But this is definitely a favoured option for larger firms. Whilst only 7% of companies with less than 10 employees offer a car pool – the lowest – 71% of those with more than 250 employees use this.
3. Large businesses more likely to use grey fleet
The research found that businesses of all sizes allow employees to use their own vehicles on work travel but it’s actually the largest firms of 500+ employees that are most likely to allow ‘grey fleet’ usage at 48%, compared to just 30% of the smallest firms.
Overall, 38% said that employees are free to travel however they wish, with one in five stating that employees must use a preferred supplier. Nearly one in five companies stipulate that car sharing must be used when employees are going to the same location or meeting, when travelling for work, reducing costs and their carbon footprint.
4. More control needed on grey fleet usage
The research also identified a worrying lack of risk management when it comes to the grey fleet. Just over half (57%) of respondents said that proof of insurance was in place to ensure employee safety when using their own vehicles. And less than half (47%) said proof of MOT was part of their process, while less than a third (32%) stating that evidence of regular servicing was in place to ensure the roadworthiness of their grey fleet.
Worryingly, nearly a quarter admitted to having no checks in place to ensure employee safety when using their own vehicles.
5. Fleets not carrying out regular policy reviews
When it comes to reviewing their fleet policy, 39% of all businesses surveyed said they review it once a year, taking into account the size and type of vehicles the company owns or long-term leases. A total of 32% said they review their policy every two years.
Worryingly, nearly 1 in 10 said they never review their fleet policy or they don’t know when it’s reviewed.
6. Sustainability is more important for larger fleets
The top three goals that senior decision makers consider the most important for their fleet policy are sustainability (43%), control of fleet usage and fuel costs (43%) and control of fleet ownership costs (38%).
Perhaps somewhat predictably, the research finds that the larger the business, the more sustainability matters. Companies with more than 500 employees put sustainability top (58%), followed by 250 to 499 employees (56%) and 100 to 249 employees (49%). This compares to under a quarter (24%) of the smallest companies saying the same. Companies with more than 500 employees (51%) also put control of fleet usage and fuel costs as a prime fleet policy goal.
To download a copy of the white paper from Europcar UK, click here.