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Shaun Sadlier's blog: Fleets of all sizes could be better informed

Date: 03 September 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

How much do fleets of different sizes know about important issues affecting their decisions? This was a question prompted by some results I have been examining from Arval's annual research project, the Corporate Vehicle Observatory Barometer.

Let's look at a very 'now' issue - WLTP. Our findings are that more than half of all fleets (53%) questioned say that it will affect their policies. If you break down this headline figure, attitudes vary quite widely by fleet size - 42% of smaller fleets (one to nine vehicles) say WLTP will have an impact, 62% of medium-sized fleets (ten to 49) and 74% of larger fleets (more than 50).

To a greater or lesser extent, I believe this result is what most people working in fleet would expect; for larger fleets with more resources and expertise to tap into, there is a better awareness of current thinking, with something of an education process required for SMEs.

Now, let's contrast WLTP with a very well-established issue - CO2 - which has been part of company car benefit-in-kind taxation since 2002. The Barometer asked a question about whether fleets incorporated CO2 into their vehicle buying policies. The overall figure saying yes was 67%, breaking down into 55% of smaller fleets, 77% of medium-sized fleets and 80% of larger fleets.

The big surprise here is that, considering how CO2 is built so completely into the UK fleet scene and has been for some time, that almost one in three of all fleets say that they don't use it as part of their policies. And, while it is perhaps understandable that awareness is low among sub-10 vehicle fleets, it is undoubtedly surprising that, even among those with more than 50 cars and vans, a fifth of fleets do not incorporate it into their choice lists.

So, while it is correct to say that overall smaller fleets are less informed than large fleets, it is perhaps also accurate to surmise that large fleets sometimes know less than might be supposed. To us, all of this illustrates how much work there remains to do across the fleet sector to support all fleet managers in building effective policies.

Shaun Sadlier is head of consultancy at Arval