Fleeting Glance – Bitesize Chunks of Last Week’s Fleet-related News

Fleeting Glance – Bitesize Chunks of Last Week’s Fleet-related News

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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.

So…

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.

He says;

“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

New Kia Cee'd

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.

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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.

Finally – please share this article using the share buttons towards the bottom as well – help us help others. Thanks.

 

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Fleeting Glance – The Fleet Stories From The Last Week – 12th July

Fleeting Glance – The Fleet Stories From The Last Week – 12th July

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Fleeting Glance – The Fleet Stories From The Last Week – 12th July

As always, the ever-changing world of fleet vehicles throws up a mix of good, worrying, exciting and eye-catching.

This week sees BMW, VW and Daimler in the news again, but for all the wrong reasons, but there’s plenty of good news in here too – especially for Vauxhall.

So here is our weekly round-up of the things that have caught our eye this past week.

500th EDF Employee Has Electric Vehicle Funded Through Their Salary Sacrifice Scheme.

We start this week with the news that energy company EDF has seen it’s 500th electric vehicle funded through it’s Salary Sacrifice Scheme.

Employee Jas Sangha took delivery of a new Kia e-Niro as the scheme company’s scheme uptake continues to rise.

Perhaps most pertinently is that more and more eligible EDF employees are signing up each month – with 93% of them are opting for pure electric vehicles.

Staff at EDF have been reporting savings of around £150-200 PER MONTH – largely thanks to the 1% BIK rate available on the scheme. The company also provide 20 charge points at their sites across the UK – with a further 300 to be made available to employees by December.

If your company haven’t looked at Salary Sacrifice Schemes then there are definite benefits for all concerned.

To speak to one of our Salary Sacrifice Scheme specialists, feel free to drop us a line at the end of this article.

Stellantis Plan for Vauxhall to be “All-Electric” by 2028 as part of huge electrification scheme.

Super-automotive group Stellantis has outlined plans for a $25bn electrification programme – part of which will see Vauxhall be an “all-electric” brand by 2028.

Also, as part of the extensive scheme the group – which owns 14 major brands including Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, DS, Fiat, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati & Peugeot under it’s umbrella – also plans to install 5 battery factories across North America and Europe, with a view to reducing battery costs by as much as 60%.

In terms of vehicle production, there are four platforms forming the backbone of all the Stellantis brands.

As well as the small, medium and large car platforms, perhaps the most interesting development is the platform being specifically developed for commercial vehicles such as vans and pickups.

New EU Rules Will Make EV Cars more Profitable Than Petrol – VW Executive.

New EU regulations due to come in force in 2025 are set to make electric cars more profitable than their petrol counterparts – marking a landmark moment for the automotive industry according to Thomas Ulbrich – head of development for the VW brand.

The regulations which will see new engine standards – called Euro 7 – will pose serious challenges to manufacturers, meaning expensive emission reduction equipment will be needed to ensure compliance.

Ulbrich recently told the Financial Times;

“If you now ask when is the point for [profits] becoming equal to an internal combustion engine, you know that with Euro 7 there are tremendous challenges for the internal combustion engine world,”

Of course, the implication here is that currently there are more profits in petrol car sales than electric vehicle.

The knock-on effects of the changes could see the speeding up of investment into EV technology. In reality, the spend on EV infrastructure is already ramping up.

But whilst petrol/diesel vehicles sales have to stop by 2030, the reality is there is a definite push to make the switch much sooner – and that is being forced on consumer and manufacturer alike.

Westminster Could Face Imposed 20mph Speed Limit

For those of you who have been stuck in rush traffic in London, 20mph might even seem a tad ambitious! However, TfL (Transport for London) are looking into introducing a 20mph speed limit on near enough all of its roads in Westminster.

The news comes after TfL introduced 20mph speed limits within the Central London Congestion Zone in March last year.

The latest proposals come alongside a series of other measures to help ‘reduce speeds and danger to vulnerable road users’.

With the proposal, suggestions are;

    • A reduced 20mph speed limit on 13km of roads within the borough, including on Marylebone Road, Vauxhall Bridge Road and Edgware Road between the A40 and St. John’s Wood Road.
    • Raised tables at six existing pedestrian crossings locations on roads with newly lowered speed limits to reduce danger to people walking and increase compliance with the new speed limit.
    • New road signs throughout to ensure that all drivers are fully aware of the new speed limit
    • Recalibrating speed cameras in the area to ensure compliance with the new speed limits.

Fleet operators are being encouraged to share their views on the proposal – which you can by visiting https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/lowering-speeds-westminster?cid=speed-westminster

Again though, these proposals are firmly inline with major cities becoming less and less vehicle friendly.

Balancing safety and the environment with the physical need to transport people and move goods in and out of major towns and cities is an on-going concern – and in reality is only really going to go one way – however, that doesn’t stop the impact being felt the most on smaller businesses and fleets who are left to come up with and pay for the solutions.

Tesla Drivers Spend An Average of £47 a Month Charging Their Cars

running costs of Tesla shows more positives for Electric cars

Our recent article looked at a survey on Tesla compiled by Cararac.com. Whilst it looked in great detail at the performance of Tesla’s cars against other EVs and petrol/diesel cars, it seemed a little light on the running costs – but there’s good news here for the Californian Car Giant too.

EEVEE Mobility has recorded data from users of its app and discovered that the monthly cost of charging a Tesla costs less than a tank of petrol!

How does this comparison translate though?

Well, the data revealed the average number of miles travelled by users was 707 miles. With an average fuel price of £1.30 per litre and average fuel economy of 55mpg, the cost in a petrol car would be £75. In a Tesla – for the same distance – it was just £47.

What is perhaps most interesting about this data study is that assumptions about EV use being cheaper can now actually start to be backed up with cold, hard facts.

The trick now of course is in bringing the cost of purchasing Electric Vehicles down.

VW Group & BMW Fined Over Emissions “Collusion”

Another week and another ‘manufacturer fined for emissions figures’ story emerges. This one is a little different though as it’s the news that several manufacturers “colluded” to not clean up their cars as much as they could have.

The rather bizarre news sees VW Group (which includes the VW, Porsche and Audi brands) and BMW fined £751m colluding for colluding with Daimler in relation to the companies agreeing between them to make the bear minimum use of the AdBlue System – a cleaning treatment for harmful nitrogen oxide emissions – to meet EU standards.

They also shared commercially sensitive information with one another.

Daimler managed to avoid a fine, having brought the collusion to light.

VW are contesting the decision as they say that the contents of the discussions were never implemented. However, it’s certainly not the first time the big car manufacturers have been accused of not playing fair over vehicle emissions.

Since the first big “emissions scandal” emerged back in 2015 with VW, countless stories and charges have been levied in relation to emissions on the big manufacturers. There is very little trust as it is in car manufacturers to clean up cars.

That this article will come as little surprise to anyone is probably the biggest indication of how little the industry is trusted.

And finally…

New Vauxhall Grandland Orders Being Taken

It’s been an excellent week for Vauxhall. Last week, Stellantis announed that Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant is to remain open – concentrating on producing all-electric vans and passenger cars for Vauxhall, Opel, Peugeot and Citroen.

Shortly after this, Vauxhall then announced they are taking orders for their facelifted SUV the Vauxhall Grandland.

Featuring a front-end that matches the recently launched “Mokka”, the new Grandland arrives in the autumn to compete with the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage.

Models start from £25,500 – although perhaps more interestingly for fleet operators, Vauxhall has dropped the price of the hybrid plug-in model by £6000 to £34,365. With CO2 emissions from 31 g/km, a zero-emission range of 34 miles the 225ps model comes within the 11% BIK bracket.

We will be reviewing the Grandland and comparing it to it’s rivals soon – but it’s great to end the week with more good news following on from Nissan’s announcement about their Sunderland plant recently too.

If you have any questions about how any of these news features could impact on your business please don’t hesitate to get in touch or leave a comment at the bottom of the article.

 

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The Salary Sacrifice Scheme – How does it work and is it worth it?

The Salary Sacrifice Scheme – How does it work and is it worth it?

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The Salary Sacrifice Scheme – How does it work and is it worth it?

We have recently looked at various personal vehicle leasing finance options, and in the last article we mentioned that there was an alternative way of financing a vehicle that needed looking at in more detail. This would be the Salary Sacrifice Scheme.

In a nutshell, the Salary Sacrifice Scheme is classed as a “company car” which enables employees to acquire a brand-new car over a 2-3 year period which is fully maintained, serviced and insured.

In this article we will look at how it works, what cars are available and the finer details to be aware of.

How does it work?

If you took out such a scheme for your employees, they would exchange part of their salary for a new car and the added services (maintenance, servicing etc…). As a result, this would reduce the amount of tax and National Insurance they would pay.

As the vehicle is classed as a “benefit in kind” they would have to pay a “Company Car Tax” (which would be made through an adjustment in their tax code) however this is often far less than the savings made in tax and National Insurance.

Aren’t Company Cars Expensive?

A while back it seemed like everyone had a company car. But then hikes in the tax paid meant that there was no real benefit in having one.

The recent reduction in company car tax – and introduction of very low tax at 1% for electric vehicles and very low tax for hybrid vehicles – means that a Salary Sacrifice Scheme is extremely viable once more.

Why does the Salary Sacrifice Scheme make sense?

For the Employee

There are lots of reasons why the Salary Scheme makes sense for an employee. The main reasons are;

  • Access to a brand-new car every 2 or 3 years
  • The fee includes all Servicing & Repairs so there aren’t any unexpected bills.
  • Income tax and NI savings
  • Unlimited Tyre Replacement/Repair (even due to accidental damage)
  • Access to competitive buying terms for car and servicing
  • Comprehensive Breakdown Cover included
  • No deposit required – fixed budget monthly rental
  • No credit checks to undergo
  • Fully comprehensive ‘Business’ Insurance fixed for 3 years (regardless of claims)
  • Includes road tax (if applicable) for the whole contract
  • An additional 2 named drivers allowed (min 18 years)

For the Employer

As well as offering a popular employee benefit, your business can make substantial savings in National Insurance contributions – with as much as £350 per ultra-low emission car.

Would the employee own the car?

At the end of the 2-3 years they can either hand the car back, or take an option to purchase the vehicle.

What type of cars are available?

Most cars are available under the scheme – however the biggest savings will be on electric and hybrid vehicles. As mentioned earlier, there is just 1% company car tax on electric vehicles and very low tax on hybrid vehicles.

As well as the biggest savings being on Electric and hybrid vehicles, they are often the best fit of many employees’ driving use. This makes EV’s and Hybrid vehicles a good choice for practical reasons too.

There are also some decent savings to be had on certain petrol and diesel vehicles with low emissions.

To find out more about the best vehicles for your employees needs, we’ll be happy to guide you further if you get in touch.

Other considerations

An employee must have completed 6 months in your organisation. They must also consider whether they are going to be there for 2-3 years. There could be financial penalties should they voluntarily leave employment before the end of the agreement.

In conclusion

There are many benefits to the Salary Sacrifice Scheme for both employees and employers alike. If you would like to find out more about the scheme or the vehicles available, please don’t hesitate to get in touch using the form below.

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