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Fleet managers: 'Fit for purpose' cars are priority

Date: 20 January 2011

Choosing cars that are 'fit for purpose' is the number one priority for fleet managers when designing their vehicle choice policies, according to a quarterly survey.

The poll from fleet research firm Experteye shows this factor has climbed above CO2 emissions, which has fallen into second place. The number of fleet managers who cited fitness for purpose as the most important criteria has risen from 52% to 64% while choosing vehicles based on their CO2 emissions has fallen slightly from 59% to 55%.

Other factors that influence vehicle choice lists include 'maximum monthly rental' in third place with 45% of fleet managers seeing that as the key priority, 'vehicle cost per mile' in fourth place at 22%, 'safety features' at 21%, 'a vehicle's brand image' at 18% and 'engine capacity' at 15%.

Just over one-tenth (12%) of fleet managers said they had no criteria for their vehicle choices and only 3% said they preferred vehicles from the EU.

"It's interesting that the focus has shifted so steeply towards ensuring vehicles are fit for purpose," said Rick Yarrow, Experteye managing director, "as this shows a determination by businesses that their vehicles must be effective business tools. And it's probably fair to say that this is as a result of companies preparing themselves for the challenge ahead as we move out of recession, but still face some potentially uncertain times."

Yarrow added: "However, we shouldn't overlook the fact that if we combine the percentages of maximum monthly rental and vehicle cost per mile, which are both measures used to control overall vehicle expenditure, budgetary control is still key. Many contract hire companies will feel disappointed, though, that the use of cost per mile, which includes fuel, sits at just 22% when in the fleet sector it is seen as a far more relevant and accurate measure for policy setting."

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