Our local business leasing customer, from Astley (Greater Manchester), sent our fleet team pictures of their latest acquisition – the Evoque SUV. A busy SME fleet of about 15 vehicles, our customer now operates a different variety of cars and commercial vehicles within their portfolio. The transition from a micro to SME fleet does bring with it a number of thoughts, and challenges, for example road risk policies, regular diving licence checks, maintenance, insurance and damage.
It isn’t just about adhering to health and safety regulations (directors now face direct responsibility under Corporate Manslaughter laws), it’s about making practical decisions which help you operate practically and in a financially astute manners. Every company wants to make sage financial decisions which allows for employees to enjoy the luxury of a new company car but without creating huge time and cost issues.
But isn’t a company car dead? It is true that the shift from business contract hire to personal contract hire has happened as a result of the growing costs of company car tax (for the driver) and rising cost issues for companies. Not mention that some companies no longer want the responsibility of fleet or to have contract hire on their balance sheet. From 1 Jan 2019, all current and future lease activity will be “on balance sheet” due to IFRS 16.
But company cars are by no means “dead”, it’s more of the case that there are suitable alternatives for some drivers. For those employees taking more CO2-friendly vehicles, like the hybrid/PHEV/Pure Electric, the taxation exposure under BiK is substantially reduced. There are also still genuine cases of high mileage drivers, covering 20,000 miles per annum and above, who don’t want the personal risk of managing a car, insuring it, maintaining it and swapping it ever 2 – 4 years. Also, some drivers do not have the right credit to lease a car personally.
For those companies still looking to utilise a company car scheme for their employees, there does need to be some structure put in place regardless of fleet size; 1 or 1000, there are some similar obligations and considerations. Some customers will elect to self-manage their business fleet, which is not an issue, whereas others will use fleet-management software and third parties to regulate their vehicles. Managing a fleet is very much about practicality and organisation – your first step is ascertaining your “company car policy”. This may be used to dictate the type of cars your employees can review, maximum term (2, 3 or 4 years) and annual mileage.
With changes taking place due to company car taxation and electric vehicles, you may see the conflict between a driver wanting an electric car (to save on tax) against the company not wanting to pay more per month for the vehicle or wanting the responsibility for charging the vehicles. A company also needs to take steps with the staff to ensure they can legally, and safely, drive a fleet vehicle – this means employing regular driving licence checks, training and proof of acknowledging the policy.
The steps you take during the contact are crucial too. You don’t hand a vehicle to an employee and then come back to them in 3 years when the vehicle is due to be returned. With contact hire, the vehicle is being run on a specific mileage, it must be serviced/maintained regularly and must not be returned in an improper condition. Are you taking steps to monitor this? Smaller companies will see the vehicles on a regular basis and so can easily monitor what is going on whereas some companies are more distant from their employees. As such it will be down to a member of staff to ask the driver every 1-3 months what their mileage is, what their fuel spend is, maintenance queries and any damage reports.
For those wanting more assistance, and who do not want to regulate this quite so much, there are 3rd party fleet software programmes which can be utilised to ensure everything is being carried out properly. Many have apps which a driver can download so they can send all of their information on the vehicle and perform regular checks on themselves for driving licence and fines etc There are programmes to assist with maintenance on the vehicle properly (regular reminders), mileage updates (to avoid excess mileage) and damage re-charge (identifying all those marks, dents and scuffs which fall outside of fear wear and tear).
While many of our customers operate only a few vehicles we do stress the importance of being organised. Many of the company issues for cars arise due to over-mileage, missed-services and damage; this is all avoidable or manageable if you carry out basic fleet management or employ a third-party software to assist. If you need any assistance, just speak to our fleet team at CarLease UK.
In terms of the car shown, the Range Rover Evoque Diesel Hatchback 2.0 D150 S 5door 2WD (Manual), this is based on the following configuration:
- Fuji white Solid Paint
- Perforated grained leather – Ebony
- Light oyster morzine headlining
- Gradated linear bright aluminium trim finisher
- 18″ 5 split spoke gloss sparkle silver alloy wheels – Style 5075
- Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) large tank
- Large Fuel Tank
As standard the car includes grained leather, ambient interior lighting, body coloured roof, 18” alloys, 10-way electric and heated front seats, 6 speaker sound system, auto dimming interior mirror, LED headlights, front and rear parking aid, power folding/auto-dimming and heated door mirrors with puddle lights, carpet mats, rear view camera, heated washer jets, heated windscreen, DSC, hill launch assist, passive suspension, android auto/apple car play, InControl remote, cruise control, lane keep assist, 10” touch screen pro, navigation pro, lane keep assist, DAB radio, tailgate spoiler, two zone climate control, emergency braking, 40/20 split folding seats, intrusion sensor, immobiliser and alarm. In terms of additional options – add the R Dynamic pack, privacy glass or Meridian sound system for the perfect car.
On the technical-side company car and business users can note the P11d at £34,850.00 and CO2 at 143g/km. The 1999CC 6 speed manual engine delivers 52.3 combined MPG (EC), 42.1 (WLTP), 150ps and 0-62 times of 10.5 seconds. Service intervals are set at every 12 months or 16,000 miles. Do weigh up between a driver and funder-maintained contract based on these intervals.
So would you select the Evoque as your next car leasing option? Or would the Audi Q3, Jaguar E-Pace or BMW X1 be your preferred choice.