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BUSINESSCAR ROUND TABLE: New Years' thrift - fleet experts talk whole-life costs

Date: 17 February 2014

BusinessCar's second round table event, in association with Hyundai, gathered key fleet players at the Royal College of nursing in central London to discuss whole-life costs and how businesses can
use them to their advantage. Jack Carfrae reports

The days when you could efficiently run a fleet on the list price or lease rate of your vehicles are long gone. The P11D or monthly lease cost are usually the first places most operators will look before procurement, and they're the figures most likely to make them baulk if they're too high, but they're far from the be all and end all.

That's where whole-life costs come in. They're widely considered to be the most effective way of choosing cars for a fleet because they take into account just about every granular expense a business can expect to encounter when running a particular vehicle. Residual values, fuel, SMR and insurance, among others, all have a massive impact on how much a vehicle actually costs over the time a fleet is running it.

Choose by P11D alone and you're only factoring in one expense, so you may well end up shelling out more in the long run. Make a decision based on whole-life costs and you get the bigger picture - and you may end up with a very different but much more appropriate and far less expensive result.

The second of BusinessCar and Hyundai's exclusive round table events discussed whole-life costs in detail: what they're all about, how fleets can use them and where the big savings can be made. A team of the most experienced experts in the field gathered at the Royal College of Nursing in central London, and BusinessCar's special report details the crucial points of that meeting.

. The BusinessCar team

Paul Barker - Editor. An award-winning journalist with close to a decade of experience in the fleet industry, editor Barker chaired the event
and quizzed delegates on the whole-life costs game.

Jack Carfrae - Deputy editor. Chief scribe Carfrae recorded the key points from the meeting.

. Experts of the round table

Chris Chandler - Principal consultant, Lex Autolease. Chandler is a strategic fleet specialist at the country's biggest leasing firm. A major component of his day job is dealing with end-user customers looking to cut their costs.

Mark Jowsey - Manufacturer liaisons director, KeeResources. "A fleet guy by profession", Jowsey heads up manufacturer relations at data specialist KeeResources. What he can't tell you about whole-life costs isn't worth knowing.

Rupert Pontin - Chief car editor, Glass's. Pontin heads up valuation and forecasting data at the residual value specialist and is a 29-year veteran of the trade. He knows the used car and residual value numbers game inside out.

Georgina Smith - Fleet administrator, Healthcare at Home Logistics. Smith currently manages 400 vehicles but expects the organisation's car fleet to double in size over the next two years, while the van fleet is also set to change.

Martin Towers - Corporate sales director, Kwik-Fit. Towers looks after fleet, leasing and business activity at the fast-fit and service giant and has worked in the industry for more than 20 years. He believes SMR is the best way for a fleet to control its expenditure.

Martin Wilson - Fleet director, Hyundai UK. Hyundai's fleet boss describes himself as "a big fan of whole-life costs" and reckons the procurement process of fleet vehicles needs to be more sophisticated.