Elliott Woodhead Arval
Elliott Woodhead, Arval's head of SME, on the issues facing SME small fleets
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ARVAL is one of the UK’s largest leasing companies, supplying hundreds of car leases and van leases each year to both large corporate enterprises as well as the small business and SME sector.

Naturally, it’s the latter I’m interested in here, and I got a chance to sit down with Elliott Woodhead recently to talk about the leasing company’s approach to the SME sector.

Now, Elliott is Arval’s director of SME & Partnerships at Arval, so he should – all things being equal – know a thing or two about leasing vehicles to the SME sector.

 We try to meet the needs that we believe SME customers have – convenience, expertise, value for money and reassurance that they are making a good choice,” Elliott tells me.

Audi S5 Coupe
Car leasing choice: take expert advice says Woodhead

The need for expert advice on leasing company cars

“SME and private lease customers are often short of time, not experts in finance or vehicles and working to a fixed budget. We’ve developed solutions to make quotation, credit and onboarding straightforward, provide clear advice before and during the contract and resolve any issues swiftly and fairly. Pricing has to be competitive and our regular supply of special offers are particularly popular.”

Given the current economic conditions, I asked Elliott what he believed to be the five key issues facing SME small car fleets.

“Economic uncertainty, choosing the best funding method, selecting the right vehicles for their needs, understanding fuel options and in many respects a difficult driving environment when you factor in things like fines, congestion, the condition of our roads and parking,” says Elliott.

He adds: “Don’t waste your capital on vehicles, outsource to an expert and focus on your core business.”

Elliott is also forthright in his advice for small businesses running vans: “Choosing the right vehicle will not only make your work easier, but it will also save you money and make drivers happy. That doesn’t always mean ‘cheapest is best’.”

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Should SME small fleets consider diesel still?

Going back to car choice, the blanket damning of diesel has been made many companies move away from the fuel choice and towards alternative fuel vehicles. For example, diesel registrations ahve dropped 29% comparing October 2017 to the same month a year ago.

So is there still a future for diesel?

Elliott is unequivocal: “Of course. There is still plenty of scope to improve the efficiency and cleanliness of diesel engines. Choosing fuel type depends very much on what you are using the vehicle for and where. These are the sort of issues you should ask your fleet company to give you advice on based on your specific circumstances.”

I couldn’t agree more: now, more than ever, SMEs running company cars or small businesses choosing new vehicles for their directors should consult their car leasing provider on the best course of action.

Because now is not the time to make the wrong decision.

 


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