Steffen Müller, Grant Collinson & Richard Irvine-Brown
A roundup of the week’s fleet news from Europe and the UK including reaction to the UK Chancellor’s statement ahead of the 2013 budget, the launch of a pan-European fleet management tool, commercial fleet figures and a sales appointment at German fuel card firm, Novofleet
Fuel freeze welcomed, industry still seeks CO2 allowance reversal
There was a mixed reaction from the fleet industry to UK Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement with welcome news on fuel duty tempered by a lack of change on low-emission vehicle allowances.
David Brennan, managing director of LeasePlan UK, welcomed the cut in corporation tax and said the Chancellor’s decision to permanently cancel the planned fuel price hike will help ease the burden on UK motorists and businesses.
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He also said a pledge to invest £1bn (1.24bn) in road improvements recognised the importance of road mobility to the countries economic recovery. However, he highlighted the industry was still waiting for road schemes announced last year to begin.
Tim Naylor of British Car Auctions said the fuel price freeze would be a "huge relief" to motorists and added recent research by the vehicle auctioneer found fuel cost was the biggest concern for road users.
Phil Harrold, automotive expert at professional services firm PwC said, while news of the price freeze was positive for the industry, it was only a temporary reprieve as the increase for 2013/2014 was still scheduled to go ahead and had only been delayed until next September.
He added: "The real focus and investment should be driven by Government and industry to develop more cost-efficient vehicles, alternative fuels and extra support for those manufacturers working hard to achieve this."
Both the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) and the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) chose to reiterate a call to the government to reverse its decision in the 2012 budget to withdraw enhanced first-year allowances for leased low-emission vehicles.
John Lewis, chief executive of the BVRLA, said: "By removing the ability of the leasing industry to claim these allowances, the government will just make it more expensive for businesses to run greener fleets. There is no logic to it."
Both the BVRLA and the FLA said they would continue to lobby for a reversal of the decision in upcoming meetings with Treasury officials.
Autorola rollout de-fleet and remarket management tool
Online remarketer Autorola has launched an acquisition-to-sale fleet management tool across Europe following an opening rollout in Holland, Belgium and Denmark.
The Fleet Monitor product aims to reduce stocking times and optimise residual values on fleets from 200 to 200,000 vehicles by overseeing the entire life-cycle of a fleet vehicle and tying in with both third party suppliers and companies’ back-office systems.
Targeting contract hire and leasing companies, rental firms, dealer groups and outright fleet purchases across the continent, Peter Grøftehauge, chief executive at Autorola, said he hoped Fleet Monitor would make de-fleet and remarketing procedures "more straightforward" and ensure "no vehicle is lost in any of these processes".
November CVs down, fleet up – SMMT
November figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have shown a drop in UK commercial vehicle registrations while fleet and business sales have both grown year-on-year.
CV registrations were down 15.9% in November to 22,860 units, and down 5.0% year-to-date to 265,959. Van (up to 3.5 tonnes) registrations were down 16.4% for the month to 18,975 units, and down 7.4% year-to-date to 223,836. Truck registrations were down 13.7% for the month to 3,885 units but up by 9.9%, year-to-date, to 42,123. Rigid trucks, both two-axle and three-axle, were down 22.4% to 1,964 units in November but up by 22.7%, year-to-date, to 26,769.
Meanwhile car fleet registrations were up by 3.6% for November to 77,331 units but dropped 3.9ppts to 51.8% market share of new car registrations, and up 0.7% for the year-to-date to 958,517 units, again recording a drop of 2.3ppts in market share to 49.9%.
Monthly business registrations rose 27.4% on November 2011 to 6,533 units, increasing market share by 0.6ppts to 4.4%. Year-to-date business registrations were down 8.9% to 84,075 units, with a 0.7-ppt drop to 4.4% market share.
New sales director for Germany’s Novofleet
Novofleet, an issuer of fuel cards for commercial road fleets in Germany, has appointed Marco Keil as its new sales director.
Keil, who previously held senior sales roles in the automotive industry including at Enterprise Rental, took charge of the sales department from the start of December.
Novofleet chief executive Ralf Turley said, he was confident Keil’s knowledge and experience would help the firm build on a successful year.