Arnold Clark Vehicle Management has launched Affinity Cars, a product allowing employers to provide car leasing to staff without going through a company car scheme.

Once a business is signed up to Affinity Cars, its staff get access to a selection of PCH deals on Arnold Clark’s portal, which include 24/7 support and free delivery in the UK mainland.

The lease contract is set up between Arnold Clark and the employee, meaning the employer is not involved in the deal. Businesses do not have to pay to register for the scheme, and the agreement stays in place even if the lessee switches employer.

Affinity Cars is marketed as an alternative to “costly and time-consuming” benefit packages for new employees. Businesses with one or more employees are eligible. Effectively, the product offers employees a more direct way of translating cash allowances into a business vehicle, while generating more leads for Arnold Clark.

Business vehicle and fleet providers across Europe have been looking for alternatives to classic company car products in the face of employees’ rising demand for multi-modal mobility and uncertainty around fuel restrictions and taxation.

German car hire group Sixt launched a “corporate mobility” bundle in March, combining leasing, rental and a budget for on-demand services like e-hailing and car-sharing.

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Societe Generale’s fleet arm ALD Automotive, meanwhile, has tapped into startups Mobeelity in France and MaaS Global in Finland to experiment with multi-modal mobility budgets for employees, including both private transport means and public transit.

In September of last year, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) warned that higher tax rates on benefit-in-kind (BIK) perks like company cars would push employees away from company vehicle schemes towards privately-financed leases. The BVRLA said this was already resulting in increased emissions in the business car space, due to the lower environmental credentials of privately-procured vehicles.