We’re just starting to release the results of the Arval Mobility Observatory, a substantial piece of research we undertake every year that looks at how businesses all across Europe handle corporate transport.

In fact, this is the first time that the report has used this name. For many years, it has been known as Corporate Vehicle Observatory. The new title is a recognition of the fact that increasingly, this is a subject that is about much more than company cars. 

However, the first information we have released shows how much the company car remains valued. In response to a question in Arval Mobility Observatory asking whether they would fully or in part give up their vehicle for a range of mobility alternatives, just 7% of businesses said they would probably or certainly opt instead for car sharing, 9% for ride sharing, 8% for a mobility budget, 11% for a private lease vehicle and 7% for mid-term rental. 

On the face of it, that finding seems to suggest that there is little appetite for mobility. However, we can report that this is certainly untrue. There is a considerable degree of interest in this area from right across our customer base. In a world where apps such as Uber have become commonplace, people instinctively recognise that we have reached a point where technology and transportation are intersecting in new and interesting ways. Instead, what we believe we are seeing in our research results is the leading edge of a blended form of corporate transport, where mobility solutions are used alongside the existing fleet.

There has been much said and written in the last couple of years about the potential benefits of mobility but it is perhaps worth taking a moment to remember the advantages of the company car. The fact is that, for many businesses in many applications, it is the most viable solution in terms of both cost and time effectiveness. It provides a degree of flexibility, safety and corporate social responsibility at a relatively low cost that is impossible to otherwise access, as well as being an essential employee benefit. 

While the new solutions offer exciting potential, for most businesses they will tend to be suitable largely for quite specific applications. That is why, unless there is some unforeseen step change, we expect to continue to see the car at the very heart of mobility.

Shaun Sadlier is head of consultancy at Arval