Honda: let’s do business
“Honda is back in the fleet game.”
That was the message given to delegates at the
BVRLA conference by Ollie Parsons, national leasing and SMR manager
at Honda UK.
Parsons said the Japanese car manufacturer was
renewing its focus on the fleet sector in the UK and was seeking
better relations with fleet lessors.
Honda, which sponsored the event at the
Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire on 1 December, has recently
launched a diesel model of its Civic. It feels this new model will
appeal to the fleet sector, where diesel vehicles see heavy use,
Elsewhere in the conference, Simon Oliphant,
chief executive of Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, called for
better communication between manufacturers and lessors to build
better working relationships – a sentiment which was echoed
Opening the event Neil Cunningham, BVRLA
chairman, said the trade body welcomed UK Chancellor George
Osborne’s Autumn Statement made the previous day and said he
believed the scrapped fuel duty rise would have a positive impact
on the industry as would infrastructure investment, “so long as it
happens soon,” he added.
Nigel Underdown, head of transport advice at
the Energy Saving Trust, called on the UK government to help the
leasing and rental industry promote electrical vehicles, which
previous speaker Martin Ward of CAP had revealed were still seeing
disappointing sales, by increasing grants and introducing them for
electric commercial vans.
Speakers and delegates also made further calls
for more funders to enter the fleet market.
Cost is paramount for fleet
More than half of fleet managers are making
decisions entirely on cost grounds, according to research from
multi-marque fleet lessor Alphabet.
The first in a series of reports based on a
survey of fleet decision-makers from across UK industry and the
public sector by the BMW-owned company found 51% of fleet managers
make their decisions based on expense.
The Alphabet Fleet Management Report (AFMR)
2011 also found that, although half of the fleet operators reported
overall costs have remained static over the last year, cost remains
a major worry and came second only to driver safety in respondents’
list of concerns.
83% of respondents reported their fuel bills
had increased ‘substantially’ and half said they were prioritising
fuel efficient technology to redress the balance. Other fuel-saving
methods revealed included evaluating business journeys (48%),
changing to more fuel efficient vehicles (40%) and introducing fuel
Looking ahead to next year, the report
revealed private sector fleets were optimistic on operating budgets
increasing again, although public sector organisations had a
27% of private sector respondents said they
expected their fleet operating budget to go up in the coming year,
although a smaller number (21%) anticipated that the size of their
fleet would also increase. In the public sector 56% expect to see
their budgets cut, while 44% expect that the size of their fleet
Richard Schooling, chief executive of Alphabet
GB said: “Fleet managers continue to endure considerable pressure
to reduce costs as organisations adapt to sluggish economic growth,
and in the public sector, to spending cuts.
“However businesses should not allow
expediency to take priority over implementing strategic changes
that address the root causes of fleet operating costs.”
Further detail and analysis of the
Alphabet report entitled Tackling the pressure of cost savings
will be included in the January issue of
Lex and BCA form hybrid for hybrid
Lex Autolease and vehicle remarketing firm BCA
will hold the UK’s first hybrid-only auction on 9 December.
The sale at BCA Blackbushe in Surrey will
feature up to 50 hybrid models from Lex Autolease’s fleet.
Alan Gupwell BCA Corporate Account Manger for
Lex Autolease said: “This sale addresses the key issue of supply
affecting the hybrid market, because we typically don’t see high
numbers of these cars reaching the used market.”
He continued “It will come as no surprise to
anyone involved in used cars that with continuing high fuel prices
and other economic pressures, motorists are looking very carefully
at the running costs of their vehicles. General demand for
low emission, high MPG hybrid cars is correspondingly high, and we
expect to see significant levels of buyer interest in this
Full catalogue details are available from the
BCA website at http://www.british-car-auctions.co.uk/
and every car in the sale will be covered by the BCA Assured