The Business Motoring Week July 13, 2018
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ICFM chairman Paul Hollick addresses Conference about the challenges facing fleet
Paul Hollick asks the question: does the Goevernment want the company car any more?

Government’s ambivalent attitude to the company car

“Is the government on a mission to tax the company car out of existence. I hope not, but at the moment I don’t know.”

Strong words.

Especially when they come from the Chairman of the ICFM (the Institute of Car Fleet Managers), Paul Hollick. I was listening to Paul at the ICFM’s annual conference this week at the National Motor Museum, Warkwickshire.

Paul outlined the many issues, from the global to the national, facing business car managers, whether you’re running an SME firm or a larger enterprise.

Gareth Wilsher Fleet Manager for AT&T

It’s a complex world managing cars on business; this can be company cars or your employees’ own private cars being used on business. I met Gareth Wilsher there (pictured right) who I’ve interviewed previously. He is the International Fleet Manager for AT&T. So he should know his stuff. But, as he modestly put it, “every day’s a school day – you can’t stop learning whatever size of fleet you run.”

And the Government’s lack of clarity on so many issues, deliberate or otherwise, is making business car management unnecessarily difficult.

And it starts getting more difficult from April 06 when the majority of company car tax bands move up two percentage points.

And diesels get whacked with an additional 1% on top of the current 3% surcharge.

But rest assured, we’ll be helping you all the way with advice and information – even if the Government is not.

If you want to read more about Paul’s insightful review of the company car landscape, click here.

Car & Van Funding becomes Industry Intelligence

Previously known as Car & Van Funding, we have integrated the content of the standalone website into Business Car Manager within a special Industry Intelligence section.

The aims of Car & Van Funding remain: to inform key executives and managers within the leasing and service industries with important information on their sector.

But the delivery within Business Car Manager will allow us to provide an enhanced service with improved and more relevant content and increased engagement with the sector. Click here to see the new Business Car Manager | Industry Intelligence section. I hope you like the improvements.

The updated Mercedes C-Class Saloon

Updated Mercedes C-Class means leasing opportunities on run out model

The Mercedes C-Class – the standard bearer of executive business motoring -will get a revamp in August. Updated exterior, changes to the interior and spec, and so on.

And if you want one, it will be worth the wait. But that means there will be opportunities on the old model. So watch out for keen leasing deals in late spring/early summer as Mercedes looks to clear any of the old stock ahead of the revamped model. Find out more here about the updated Mercedes C-Class.

Jaguar i-PACEUser experience overcomes EV range anxiety

I came across an interesting report this morning. It was about the user experience of Electric Vehicles (EVs). It was a US report but I think it has relevance here.

It comes at a time when we have increasing access to new models with greater range. Earlier this week, Renault announced a new, more powerful 80kW electric Zoe starting from £24K (including Plug-in Car Grant); our car reviewer Peter Nunn is away testing the new Nissan Leaf; and one executive I was talking to earlier this week said he’s placed an order for Jaguar’s new i-Pace (pictured above) describing it as a “Tesla killer”.

So I think it’s worth rehearsing the key report findings:

  • Limited range: this is a source of anxiety for first-time EV buyers. However this anxiety was quickly overcome following a short period of usership.
  • Pure EVs were almost exclusively used for short journeys within a town, or to an adjacent city. Owners of Teslas and the US only Chevrolet Bolt displayed slightly different tendencies, due to their longer range and Tesla’s supercharging network.
  • EV owners have unique routing requirements, with the need for rest/charging stops.
  • Even in EVs, very few integrated navigation systems provide desirable information relevant to an EV user. Up-to-date charging station and point of interest information is vital; and as with any connected service in the car, must be accessible in a practical and usable way.

I take that as a positive view with something of a slight ‘but’. Nevertheless, once into the EV world there appears to be little desire to go back.

More concerning, though, is the Government’s lack of understanding and lack of clear support for EVs. We have to wait until 2020/21 for EVs to be sensibly taxed for benefit-in-kind company car tax (dropping from 16% to 2% tax bandings); and the uncertainty over the Plug-in Car Grant for which the Government is stumbling towards an answer: the Grant has been extended beyond its March cut-off. But expect little other clarity.

The report was produced by the In-vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics surveying current owners of pure EVs, and is called UX of Pure EVs: Can Incentives Overcome Pain Points?

Mitsubishi L200 gets muscled up

Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP II rearWhoah! Here’s something to stop you in your tracks: Mitsubishi’s L200 Barbarian has been taken down to the gym for several work outs by the company’s Special Vehicle Projects (SVP) team.

The result is this: the Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP II. Banging. As my son might say. Crack on Mitsubishi, I say. More details about this 250 run special can be found here.

Skoda Octavia estateBrilliant 1.0-litre Skoda defies engine size

Are you fixated by size? Well don’t be. Car engines are getting smaller. But don’t expect pint-sized performance as a result.

Take this Skoda Octavia we’ve been running on long-term review (above). It’s got a brilliant 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine that’s as engaging as it is tuneful, a tardis like interior and as much as 57mpg on long runs.

Henry Williams head of Skoda fleet
Henry Williams head of Skoda fleet

With a P11D value of £20,005 the Skoda – currently in the 21% company car tax band – has a benefit-in-kind of £4201. That’s as little as £70 a month. That represents a lot of value. In every way.

I was talking to Henry Williams recently (pictured left), Skoda’s Head of Fleet, for a feature that we have run in our new Industry Intelligence section: Skoda sets sights on increasing leasing growth.

We were discussing our Octavia and I then asked him for nine business reasons to buy a Skoda – a succinct one liner for each model! Here’s his list of off-the-cuff one-liners:

  • Citigo – fun, funky, unconventional car
  • Fabia – the Tardis
  • Rapid – suitcase swallower
  • Rapid Spaceback – impressively compact, remarkably spacious
  • New Octavia – The No1 estate in its segment
  • Superb – Skoda revolutionised
  • Yeti – practical, dependable, original
  • Karoq – available to order now!
  • Kodiaq – magnificent 7. The first Skoda 7 seater!

So there you go – the Skoda range in nine lines. If you want to read more about Skoda and how it would work for your SME company, then click here.

No Business Motoring Week next Friday

As next Friday is Good Friday, we won’t be publishing the Business Motoring Week next week. So Happy Easter everyone; and I’ll see you the other side of Quarter 1.

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