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Company car cost fears overtake safety and environmental concerns

18 March 2009

Costs and other economic factors are rapidly overtaking safety and green issues in the minds of company car decision-makers, according to new research.

Yet, according to the Government-backed ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign, introducing a comprehensive occupational road risk management strategy is one of the most effective money-saving measures for private and public sector organisations.

The quarterly Company Car Trends survey by GE Capital Solutions, Fleet Services, showed that the recession was rapidly changing the fleet agenda. When asked what would have the greatest influence on fleet decisions in the next 12 months, the 581 fleet decision-makers questioned said:

  • Oil and fuel prices - mentioned by 99.3% of respondents and up by 11.7% in the last 12 months
  • General economic conditions - mentioned by 98.8% and up 12.2%
  • A decline in business - mentioned by 97.1% and up 10.9%

The top three factors of declining influence are:

  • Health and safety - mentioned by 83.4% and down 11.5%
  • Accident prevention - mentioned by 78.5% and down 11.2%
  • Corporate manslaughter legislation - mentioned by 69.1% and down 21.2%

Gary Killeen, commercial leader at GE Capital Solutions, Fleet Services, said: “These statistics show the impact of the recession on fleet thinking. Concerns about money have never been more prevalent - with worries ranging from the general economic picture to specific issues such as oil and fuel prices, which continue to be a concern despite recent falling prices.”

But, case study evidence from ‘business champions’ backing the campaign supports a significant weight of industry research that concludes that investing in safety delivers financial benefits to an organisation’s bottom line.

Caroline Scurr, director of the ‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign, said: “Reducing the number of crashes involving at work drivers is proven to save thousands and, in the case of large fleets, millions of pounds. In addition, cutting the carnage improves business efficiency and the image of an organisation.”

It’s a view shared by Mr Killeen, who added: “We believe what is already becoming apparent to fleet decision-makers is that where risk is being properly managed there will be reductions in unnecessary maintenance bills, accident costs and potentially insurance premiums.”

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