Top tips for getting your company car choice lists on the money

The company car list is a cornerstone of any fleet business, but with so many variables to consider, creating a tailored, fit-for-purpose choice list that meets the needs of both the employer and employee is no easy feat. 

From environmental impact and restrictions to TCO, remuneration and procurement issues, fleet decision makers must navigate a complicated maze of financial, operational and personnel considerations. 

Though this task can seem daunting, by identifying core business objectives and asking fundamental questions on how these can be best achieved, companies can ensure they are on track to creating choice lists that are right for them and their drivers. 

Here, we outline our top tips for getting your company car choices on the money. 

    1. Establish a baseline

Before making any decisions, examine the mileage patterns of your vehicles, how they are used and consider mandatory options, such as safety equipment. 

This will help to establish need, eliminate any unsuitable choices at an early stage and also ensure any new car choices will be fit for purpose.

2. Keep a focus on cost 

It’s important to have a clear overview of costs through historic data and future estimations. By drilling down into historic data, companies can identify opportunities to minimise future costs, such as switching to medium term leases, choosing different fuel options and offering vehicle models with tax incentives. 

When making decisions on vehicle choice, companies should consider total cost of ownership forecasts, such as lease rates, services, fuel costs and taxation, as well as any indirect costs, such as internal fleet management and return charges.

Making fully-informed decisions, based on whole-life and indirect cost analysis, will help ensure that costs do not snowball at a later stage.    

3. Listen to drivers 

An often overlooked but crucial aspect of choice list compilation is employee choice and preference. There is little use in creating choice lists if they are underutilised.

Companies need to strike the balance between offering choice to encourage uptake and help with recruitment and retention, and limiting the brands on offer to keep a lid on cost, retain brand image, simplify reallocation and streamline administration. 

Examine recent order history and survey drivers to identify patterns or trends and take the ‘pulse’ of the fleet population. This can help companies offer a comprehensive list of options that are valued, whilst allowing them to impose certain restrictions, such as on interiors, colour and body styles.  

Offering the option to trade up or trade down can also provide flexibility and improve levels of employee satisfaction. 

4. Think of the environment

Fleet sustainability is moving up the business agenda and more and more companies are focusing their efforts on reducing their carbon footprint.    

Environmental considerations now play a significant role in vehicle choice, with plug-in hybrids, fully electric vehicles and CO2 limits becoming more commonplace.

Setting an upper CO2 limit is a proven way of reducing emissions, with many companies putting CO2 caps in place to ensure high-polluting vehicles are phased out of their fleets.

Although ultra-low emission technology has developed at an exponential rate in recent years, developments still need to be made to make them a more viable and cost-effective option for all fleets.

Fleet decision makers need to determine the most appropriate choice based on individual usage. 

With the government’s commitment to slashing emissions, the implementation of emissions-based vehicle taxation regimes and climate-focused Corporate Social Responsibility, the drive to ‘greening’ fleets will only accelerate. 

Prudent fleet decision makers should be identifying early opportunities to switch to EVs and offering more choice in this market where appropriate to do so. 

5. Take into account the current climate  

The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant delays to vehicle ordering and delivery – and this may influence companies’ future buying strategies.

Fleet decision makers should be considering the advantages and disadvantages of batch ordering, using international suppliers and the future standardising of makes and models. 

With lead times protracted, the challenge of keeping up with demand in the EV market is also an important consideration.

In addition, companies should look to review their contracts regularly to avoid stagnant or redundant lists and to retain flexibility on supply choice.  As well as checks on make and model availability and driver satisfaction, reviews should extend to contract type and length.

6. Stay informed 

Creating the right choice list for your company is a major undertaking and keeping up with tax incentives or penalties, market trends, vehicle availability, lead times and changes to residual values can add an extra layer of complexity. 

Drawing upon the industry expertise of a fleet management specialist can help give companies clear direction and alleviate the administrative burden. 

To find out how we can help you get your company car lists on the money, speak to one of our experts.

EMAIL US advice@fleetoperations.co.uk

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