Improved fleet utilisation a top priority post-Covid


Europcar Mobility Group has released a white paper highlighting the new challenges faced by fleet managers.

The white paper, Fit for Purpose: Fleet management in a post-COVID world, not only shows the challenges faced by fleet professionals but also offers insight into how they plan to adapt their operations to on-going fluctuations in demand.

The research reveals that 75% had to review their fleet acquisition policy in the light of COVID-19 and one in three did not have the flexibility to change fleet size at short notice.
It also found that 62% had to extend existing lease contracts due to supply issues and 52% planned to increase their fleet size in the next 12 months.

Improving fleet utilisation was cited as one of the top three priorities in the next 12 months for more than half of the UK fleet managers surveyed. And whilst making efficient and cost-effective use of a fleet has always been an important part of the fleet manager’s role, the past 18 months has shone a spotlight on the challenges and inflexibilities many fleets face.

Additional pressures from the wider business sustainability agenda, as well as managing duty of care for company car drivers are other factors giving fleet managers a headache. For 69.8% of fleet managers, their business sustainability agenda influences the way in which they acquire and operate their fleet. And 67.8% need at least some of their fleet to enter ultra-low emission or clean air zones.

However, whilst diesel still powers 30% of business fleets, the research showed fleets expect the balance to shift in the next 12 months. Petrol and diesel will account for less than half (48%) of the fleet, with hybrid and electric vehicles expected to make up 36% of the fleet, compared with just 28% today. It’s no surprise, therefore, that fleet managers are looking for flexible solutions which allow them to manage cost whilst also addressing sustainability and duty of care objectives.

Home working and meetings via video conference are also likely to remain commonplace with the result that fleet managers expect to see almost a third (28.7%) of company car drivers opting for the Cash for Car allowance, choosing to drive their own car on the less frequent occasions when they are required to drive for work.  But this raises another spectre – the grey fleet – which is an environmental liability for eco-conscious and forward-thinking fleet managers.

“The consequences and subsequent adaptations that fleets had to make to their operations are here to stay and for organisations that rely on their vehicles for their business to grow, they will need to ensure that they have an added layer of flexibility”, said Ron Santiago, Managing Director, Europcar Mobility Group UK.

“It is no longer prudent to tie up large amounts of cash in purchasing vehicles outright or to be locked into leasing agreements that don’t allow businesses the opportunity to ‘upfleet’ or ‘downfleet’ quickly. Businesses that are agile and able to take advantage of new opportunities as they come along, will be the ones that thrive in this new reality. Long-term rental can be a valuable addition to a fleet’s toolkit – offering low emission, technologically up-to-date vehicles that contribute to the green agenda, as well as being a cost-effective way of managing any potential ‘grey fleet’ issues.”