Save the company car

The future of the company motor is in peril thanks to a lack of clarity and action by government that’s forcing more people out of business vehicles and into older, less efficient cars.

The fleet industry, backed by Fleet World, is launching a campaign to save the company car, calling on government to give better guidance and clarity to help drivers achieve their efficiency targets.

‘The message is a simple one,’ said Fleet World editor, Alex Grant. ‘Company cars are cleaner, safer and better for business, yet the government seems hell-bent on making life difficult for the businesses and drivers that use them.

‘We’re getting anti-diesel tax, which is pushing up running costs, but we’re not getting Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) incentives put in place to support the alternatives, and there’s very little stability being provided to help fleets make long-term decisions.’

In its campaign, Fleet World points out that company cars are some of the cleanest on the road. Average CO2 emissions among newly-registered British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) members’ cars was 112.0g/km in Q1 2018, versus a market-wide average of 122.5g/km.

These are also far more likely to be hybrid or electric vehicles, while 87% of car fleets are compliant with the newest Euro 6 emissions standard. But as tax hikes erode the value of these schemes, HMRC data shows 20,000 fewer drivers opted for a company car in 2016/17 versus the year before.

With personal lease cars emitting 12% more CO2, and privately-owned ‘grey fleet’ cars on average 22% higher, the consequences of the sector declining are huge, going against the government’s own plans to improve air quality and decarbonise road transport in the UK.

Fleet World is also calling on government to offer more support for ULEV and give greater clarity around new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) regulations that are set to shake up the way car MPG figures and emissions are measured. At present, the government is offering no guidance on how Benefit-in-Kind tax will be structured around the new regulations, which is causing fleet managers and company car users to stall their purchases.