Mobility white paper reveals reliance on grey fleet vehicles
The latest insight paper from Europcar Mobility Group UK - 'Is the evolving mobility agenda supporting businesses today' - reveals an ongoing reliance on grey fleet vehicles amongst UK businesses. Figures suggest a growing duty of care crisis if UK firms don't take steps to regain control of the safety and efficiency of their fleets, by utilising the latest staff mobility solutions.
As more firms move to 'cash for cars' options, prompted by Benefit in Kind tax changes, people responsible for employee mobility have less control of the vehicles being used for business travel. And for those businesses that want to retain fleet they can control, there are big questions around long-term finance agreements, as economic uncertainty continues.
Research of decision makers responsible for business travel in UK firms found that nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said they provide employees with a company car or van. But nearly a third expect their employees to use their own vehicles for business travel. The research shows that grey fleet usage is common in bigger companies with over 500 employees, with 49% relying on these types of vehicles. A significant 28% of companies with 10-25 employees also let staff use their own vehicles for business travel.
In particular, the research suggests that the changing rules surrounding Benefit in Kind tax are impacting the control employers have over the mobility solutions their employees use. Nearly a third of businesses said that up to 25% of staff have opted for 'cash for car', with 26-50% of the workforce choosing this option for nearly a quarter of companies (23%).
"The high usage of grey fleet vehicles underlines the importance of monitoring employee travel", said Gary Smith, managing director, Europcar Mobility Group UK. "Yet worryingly, nearly one in five respondents said they don't monitor employee travel at all. Only 45% of businesses monitor fuel expenses and this only rises to 56% for businesses with over 500 employees.
"The real concern is that the majority of the smallest companies don't monitor employee travel at all. Combined with firms using less than accurate methods, such as self-reporting, this means employers could be failing on their duty of care to drivers."
The average grey fleet vehicle is older than a company car, which means they are more polluting, which comes into conflict with the government's own emissions targets. They are also more prone to breakdowns, creating a major drain on a business's resources. In addition, without an easy way to collect data, employers can't know whether a vehicle has a valid MOT, tax, insurance or when it was last serviced, raising safety concerns.
The Europcar Mobility Group UK white paper also identifies that businesses are having to adopt new thinking to meet expectations for reduced pollution and congestion. With this in mind, rental remains a useful resource for over quarter of businesses, rising to 42% among bigger businesses. Other mobility options include car share or car clubs (22%), taxis (20%) and public transport (22%).