By Grant Collinson & Steffen Müller
The weekly round-up of fleet news looks at brand registration declines in Germany, cost concerns in the UK, Inchcape maintenance deal and low carbon review for Environment Agency’s LCV fleet
Brands suffer double-digit drop in German fleet
Several major manufacturers suffered double-digit declines in new fleet registrations in February, corresponding to the overall German fleet market year-on-year drop.
According to business information provider Dataforce, Renault dropped 33.2%, Volvo was down 31.4%, Ford 23.2%, Skoda 20.5% and fleet market business leader Volkswagen was down 17.5% year-on-year.
Some brands did experience a growth in registrations compared to February 2012 including Citroen, which grew 41.4%, Toyota, up 29.4%, and Seat, up 7.8%.
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The most successful model on the German fleet market, the Volkswagen Passat, saw a registration decline of 26.8% year-on-year, while the Golf dropped 29.9%, the Mercedes C-class fell 36.5% and the Audi A6 fell 32.4%.
The best performing models year-on-year in February were the new Mercedes A-class which was up 160.7% and the Audi A4, up 125.7%.
Cost control still top priority for fleet managers
The rising cost of running a fleet is the biggest concern for UK fleet managers according to research from fleet lessor Alphabet.
As much as 68% of fleet managers surveyed by the BMW-owned multi-marque lessor cited cost control as their most pressing concern, up from 62% in Alphabet’s previous survey.
Fuel consumption, factoring in the rise in fuel prices over 2012, was second place in the priority list, up from fourth, while driver health and safety, previously the top concern of fleet managers, slipped to third place this year, cited by 62% of managers compared to 72 in the previous survey.
The environmental impact of the company car experienced the biggest slump, with less than half of respondents citing green issues as a concern this year.
Insurance was identified as the area where the greatest number of fleets saw cost increases in 2012, replacing repair and maintenance costs.
Gala Coral renews Fleet Alliance outsourcing
Betting and gaming conglomerate Gala Coral Group has renewed its outsourced fleet management agreement, which covers Gala’s 417 company cars and 180 cash allowance cars, with leasing specialist Fleet Alliance.
Fleet Alliance was awarded the first contract in 2010, and the new agreement will last for two years, with a further one year option.
Philip Corbett, senior purchasing manager at Gala Coral said one of the key reasons for re-appointing Fleet Alliance was the flexibility the company offered and the detailed knowledge and experience it had built up during its term managing the Gala fleet.
The decision followed a market review.
Autoglass partner Inchcape for fleet repair
Fleet management firm Inchcape Fleet Solutions has signed a two-year deal with glass repair firm Autoglass as its preferred supplier.
Autoglass was awarded the contract after a tendering process and will take responsibility for the 50,000 vehicles under Inchcape’s management. The fleet manager cited Autoglass’s speed of service, national coverage and quality guarantee as the reasons for the choice.
Gary Nicholls, Inchcape’s customer services director, said the firm was offering split billing so to its comprehensive customers, meaning they would only pay for the excess for any repair and maintenance work.
Low carbon fleet review favours EV and hybrid LCVs
The UK’s Environment Agency has had the benefits of its biodiesel and hybrid fleet of light commercial vehicles confirmed by the Centre for Excellence for low carbon technology (Cenex) following a review by the not-for-profit research company.
The Environment Agency commissioned Cenex to provide advice on a range of low carbon vehicles and fuels available for use in its fleet, finding small panel van electric vehicles under a battery leasing model agreement and large panel van diesel hybrid vehicles, which the public body currently use, as providing the biggest cash and carbon reduction benefit.
Cenex analysed vehicle and fuel operational practicability, total cost of ownership and environmental performance for several types of vehicle when run in a fleet. The analysis was carried out using the research company’s Fleet Carbon Reduction Tool which simulates fuel usage, carbon dioxide emissions generated and cost of ownership incurred by the operation of a fleet of vehicles over representative driving cycles.
Ian Jutson, national fleet services manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Gaining independent support and results verification by Cenex has given us the validation we were seeking to continue using hybrid vehicles and biodiesel within our fleet.
"It has provided a useful insight into which EV vehicles would best fit our operational needs, and has confirmed our fleet strategy going forward."