Coronavirus to prompt more specific company car management
13 July 2020
Author: Sean Keywood
The aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic will see company cars fleets being managed increasingly differently from those with commercial vehicles, according to fleet software firm Fleetcheck.
It says that there is likely to be increased focus on whether company car journeys are required.
Managing director Peter Golding explained that this is due to the need to minimise face-to-face contact, with the resulting growth in video conferencing.
He said: "There is a strong argument that these developments have potentially changed the shape of car fleets completely until a vaccine or other solution emerges. In the past, whether you needed a company car was often decided on the basis of how many miles you covered in a year. Now, that is likely to change to look at quality and necessity of usage.
"Even when the coronavirus question is resolved to the point where real world meetings are possible, a fundamental question for car fleets is going to be whether a journey needs to take place?
"Can that monthly client account meeting now be done once a quarter by car and the rest of the time as a video conference, saving everyone time and money?"
Golding said this was in clear contrast to van fleets, where the necessity of journeys is taken for granted.
"There have always been major differences in car and van fleet management as disciplines but the coronavirus crisis and these new methods of working will accelerate that split.
"More than ever, vans will be about practicalities and cars about choice, and best practice for both types of vehicle will be very much dictated by that fundamental difference."
Despite the changes, Golding does not expect the company car to drop in popularity.
He said: "Our view is that, even in the longer term once coronavirus is under control, company cars will be used for fewer journeys. However, those journeys that are undertaken will remain very important to employers.
"There will always be a need for human contact in a business environment, especially when it comes to building and maintaining important relationships.
"Also, something that is often underestimated but of crucial importance is the sheer flexibility of the company car. It is unmatched as a business transport tool in this respect. If you need to visit a location that isn't based in a city centre, or to go to two or three varied locations in a day, for example, there is really no other viable option.
"Finally, there are extremely strong pull factors attached to company cars for employees. They remain not only a very popular benefit but, thanks to the low taxation attached to electric vehicles for the foreseeable future, a very cost-effective option."