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Sam Sterry's blog: Tackling the green conundrum

Date: 28 October 2019

The pressure is on to reduce emissions. But how do small firms comply without making a big upfront investment? Sam Sterry, SME sales director for Europcar Mobility Group UK looks at how long-term rental can provide a green answer.

With concerns over climate change constantly hitting the headlines, making sustainable changes to the way business operates is increasingly becoming a priority. Recent research from Europcar Mobility Group UK revealed that companies with over 500 employees were most likely to put sustainability top of their agenda (58%), followed by those with 250 to 499 employees (56%) and 100 to 249 employees (49%). Even 24% of the smallest companies said sustainability matters.

The same survey also revealed companies with over 500 employees (51%) put control of fleet usage and fuel costs as a prime fleet policy goal. Add to this company car benefit-in-kind tax now favouring electric vehicles and fuel-efficient cars, and it's clear SMEs need to embrace modern vehicle technologies delivering fuel efficiencies to limit employees' tax burden.

It's not just about cost savings and sustainability. There are also immeasurable benefits that modern vehicle technologies deliver such as enhanced safety features and greater productivity, and a new car gives greater employee wellbeing and satisfaction too. 

However company car ownership comes at a cost in terms of both capital investment and administrative burden. And with the rapid pace of vehicle technological advancements, businesses with long-term commitments and lower budgets run the risk of being left behind.

It makes sense therefore to profile driver journey and mileage usage per individual and consider alternatives to ownership. 

There are now rental solutions, like Europcar Advantage, offering SMEs increased flexibility without the pressure of upfront costs. Even smaller businesses can get all the benefits of offering staff access to the latest models while staying in control of costs associated with mileage and tax changes.

Long-term rental solutions offer genuine savings and added tax-benefits. There's also an opportunity to trade out less efficient cars and take advantage of new and modern technology giving greater fuel efficiencies and better safety features. And savings can be made in other areas too; renting brand new vehicles eliminates the cost of servicing and maintenance and frees up administration time.

Plus there's the added peace of mind for employers and their staff, something which can never be underestimated. As well as enhanced safety features in newer cars, long term rental providers include 24-hour breakdown roadside assistance and recovery. This means a business avoids the risks and challenges associated with the dreaded grey fleet - employees' own vehicles - many of which could be older, poorly maintained and more likely to breakdown.

As SMEs face the big green challenge, having the flexibility to access the right vehicles without making significant investment is crucial. And finding the right partners to support that is vital.