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  • Vehicle reliability ranks highest concern for fleets

    Reliability has now become a top consideration in purchasing fleet vehicles as opposed to the usual exterior and interior styling considerations which are normally cited. In general consumers are now even more expectant of reliability in new vehicles than ever. Research from GE Capital recently found that reliability is the most important factor when purchasing fleet vehicles. 53% of those questioned ranked reliability as the most important concern, whilst 48% placed whole life costs at the top, and 32% quoted CO2 output.

    Vehicle reliability

    Vehicle downtime can be hugely disrupting and the consequences in terms of lost business, escalating costs and a drain on resources are devastating. According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, IAM Drive and Survive Division’s Bent Metal Whitepaper, over 20% of fleets said the average cost of repair per vehicle was over £1,000.

    Fleets therefore need to take a holistic approach to their maintenance programmes and anticipate downtime scenarios. Mechanical issues and incident damage are the most common causes of downtime and so preventative steps to ensure vehicles remain on the road are important. With this in mind it is not surprising how vehicle reliability is topping the list when purchasing your fleet, and ulitimately is a large part of whole life costs which includes running costs, servicing, fleet insurance, tax, etc.

    Image-based considerations are now placed further towards the bottom of the list of considerations when purchasing fleet vehicles, now at only 10%. Above all else fleet managers demand that vehicles won’t cost them a fortune in repairs and maintenance. It is interesting to see how relatively unimportant CO2 emissions are to fleet buyers, especially when you consider the tax savings and Government push to drive sales in this area.

    When asked to rank the most important factors in choosing a company car, drivers put reliability at the top of their wish list. In contrast, the brand of car was ranked as the least important consideration. Whilst brand and image is the least important consideration it is important for brands to tackle the issue of reliability and safety responsibly. News stories regarding recalls or reliability concerns can tarnish a brands reputation very quickly and be extremely hard to recover from.

    Fuel efficiency has also dropped in relevance when choosing vehicles. It is less likely to prompt managers to reject a model and they are therefore more willing to sacrifice efficiency for reliability.

    As vehicles continue to evolve, purchasing decisions too are likely to change with them, especially with the move towards hybrids and electric vehicles although this area isn’t yet ranking high on the list of requirements.

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