Fleeting Glance – Bitesize Chunks of Last Week’s Fleet-related News
Our regular weekly round-up of the latest fleet news stories and snippets shows another mixed bag of news.
This week, the importance of trackers is perfectly highlighted by a company in Essex. BMW make a pledge to company car drivers. Meanwhile Fleet Evolution introduce a salary sacrifice scheme which may be of interest to smaller organisations. The Government confirm their intentions regarding plans for zero emission vehicle tax and the Kia Cee’d has a facelift.
As always, we’ll try and deliver you the news with the context of what it means – and in a way that doesn’t make you want to nod off at your desk.
Essex Firm Recovers £200k worth of Equipment Thanks To Trackers.
Trackers are one of those pieces of kit that is so vital these days – and yet so often over-looked. One firm in Chelmsford, Essex though are reaping the benefits of having invested in them.
The Specialist Concrete Firm had IT and Plant Equipment worth more than £200k loaded into one of their vans and then stolen.
However, thanks to the Stolen Vehicle Recovery tracking system, police were able to locate the vehicle and the equipment within 24 hours.
As well as the cost saving, the trackers have also meant the swift recovery of the stolen equipment had minimal impact on the firm keeping going. We’d be interested to know why businesses without trackers run the risk? Is it a lack of understanding of the technology? Is it the fear of them being too expensive?
Because whatever the assumption – as this proves – they are well worth the investment.
BMW Aim to Forge “Direct Relationships” With Company Car Drivers
Glib soundbite or realistic promise?
Rob East – general manager of Corporate Sales of the BMW Group – told Fleet News in a recent interview of his intent to focus more on providing a better relationship with the company car driver.
“One thing I’m really passionate about is trying to create a relationship directly with a company car driver. As an industry, that’s always been quite challenging. You’ve always had strong relationships with the fleet managers, strong relationships with the leasing companies, but it was quite difficult to build the bridge with the actual user-chooser.”
East outlines numerous ways in which BMW aim to ‘involve’ the company car driver more – from communications during the order/delivery process to incentives, rewards and business insights through BMW’s “Inside Edge” App.
Whilst we welcome the recognition of the company car driver, by offering a company car driver an experience similar to a retail customer doesn’t just benefit the company car driver.
Affording a company car driver the same experience as a retail customer makes BMW more appealing should the company car driver become a retail customer.
What remains to be seen is how this will compare to how other manufacturers work with company car drivers – is what East is proposing unique to BMW? Is this really that ground-breaking? BMW drivers – let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Government Pledge to Keep Company Car Tax Low Until 2025.
The Government has released a report – Transitioning to Zero Emission Cars and Vans: 2035 delivery plan – outlining it’s commitments to ensuring a switch to electric vehicles as soon as possible.
With diesel cars sales to end in 2030 and plug-in hybrid cars and van sales to end in 2035 – several measures have already been introduced.
As you are no doubt well aware – The Treasury introduced a 0% Benefit-in-kind tax for Pure Electric company cars for 2020/21 – rising to 1% for the following year. It then rises to 2% in 2022/23 and remains at that until 2025.
In the report, there is a commitment to also keep the plug-in car and van grant until at least 2022/23. As well as this, zero emission cars are to be exempt from road tax until March 2025.
Companies and unincorporated companies will also be able to write 100% of a zero emission vehicles value off when used for business use for the period it was bought. This too is until March 2025.
Popular Kia Cee’d Undergoes Facelift
Kia are probably best known for their “7-year warranties”. But the Kia Cee’d could be about to become their flagship vehicle…for the time being at least.
The Kia Cee’d is one of those cars that’s a bit of a dark horse. Kia isn’t really a brand that leaps out when words like “stylish” are bandied about – it hardly sets the pulse racing. It also had a stint as the car used in Top Gear’s “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment – the ultimate marker of being “quite average”.
And yet, having driven these in the past, I have always been pleasantly surprised at just how good they are to drive. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the most under-rated cars out there.
They are incredibly well built and have all the right kit. You quickly see you are a world away from say the clunky Kia Picanto.
So when Kia announced they were doing a facelift of the Cee’d, I was intrigued to see how it would come out and it looks the part it has to be said.
We will of course be doing a full review nearer the launch, but some of the main highlights are that the shape looks sharper, more dynamic and – dare I say – sportier with it’s new bumpers and LED lights.
There are also some nice new safety features in there too – such as blind-spot warnings where – in immediate danger from someone at the rear – the car will provide a warning, and then can take control to avoid a collision. Nice.
The engines come in 1.0, 1.5 in petrol and 1.6 in diesel – with power ranging from 99 – 200ps (horsepower in old money). There are also more choices for exterior colours, interior fabric and alloy wheel designs than the current Cee’d. For an even sportier look, the GT-Line also looks incredible.
The new Cee’d will be out next year and reviewed here later this year.
Insurance Companies Could Replace Your Petrol or Diesel Car With An Electric Vehicle
Imagine your car or van has been stolen – and unlike our friends down in Chelmsford who had the tracking systems – the vehicle isn’t recovered. Normally you would expect a pay-out (with all the usual deductions).
However, the BBC website reported last week that insurers may now look instead to replace stolen vehicles with electric equivalents.
As part of a wider eco-drive initiative being devised by the Association of British Insurers – the idea that switching stolen vehicles for new electric vehicles makes sense, and would certainly contribute towards the switch to electric.
In addition to this change – insurers will be looking at other ways they can provide “greener” solutions. Emphasis will be placed on the recycling and use of damaged parts. For property claims, recycled or re-purposed items may be offered as an alternative to ‘new-for-old’ cover.
Smaller Organisations Can Try LEAN Salary Sacrifice Schemes
Finally this week, a company called Fleet Evolution has announced plans to launch a salary sacrifice scheme aimed at smaller organisations.
The “LEAN” scheme specialises in hybrid and electric vehicles and has been introduced to allow smaller businesses and start-ups to offer a salary sacrifice benefit to employees.
The scheme means there is a smaller pool of vehicles which – whilst not new – are all under six months old and described as being in perfect condition.
If your business is normally – or has been – blocked off from the full salary sacrifice schemes, then this could be a decent option.
To find out more, visit the Fleet Evolution website here.
And that’s all for this week. Just some general bits for you to follow this up from here (if you wish);
- If you have any questions, please feel free to leave us a comment at the bottom of the page.
- Similarly if you are interested in finding out more about the new Cee’d or switching to Electric Vehicles, we have our panel of experts and brokers who can help – so fill in the form to get in touch.
- If you are looking for a new car – don’t forget to check our “vehicles in stock” page for latest in-dealership stock.
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