BVRLA looks ahead optimistically to challenging picture for 2018

Despite an increasingly hostile tax regime and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, diesel vehicles, terrorism and the regulatory environment, BVRLA members are upbeat about their prospects for 2018.

The vehicle rental and leasing industry is feeling positive and ready to embrace the market opportunities it sees in the months ahead, according to the BVRLA in its 2018 Industry Outlook Report.

From a company car perspective, a steady move to petrol and hybrid vehicles, particularly by non-essential users, means that diesel is almost guaranteed to lose its position as the most popular fuel for new fleet registrations in 2018, says the BVRLA.

As a result, average CO2 emissions for all new car registrations are likely to rise, although average NOx emissions should fall.

In the commercial vehicle environment, CO2 and NOx emissions will both fall, but this will be due to an increasing uptake of Euro VI emissions standard diesel vans and trucks rather than a shift in fuel-types, predicts the BVRLA.

Whether your fleet mix changes or not next year, 2018 is set to be the ‘Year of the Fleet Review’, says the report.

Driven by the need to meet local Clean Air Zone requirements, respond to a change in motoring tax or just present the ‘right image’ for their own business or their customers’, BVRLA members will be conducting some deep and wide-ranging analysis of vehicle types, fleet cycles and contract mileages and terms.

Many of them see the uncertainty and nervousness surrounding the diesel and air quality debate as a great opportunity to stand out. Rental or leasing, cars or commercial vehicles, BVRLA members can’t wait to demonstrate their knowledge, experience and ability in providing a flexible, affordable road transport solution for every eventuality.

BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney said: “Our industry sees an opportunity to place itself at the centre of an increasingly fast-moving world of new automotive technology and mobility services.

“Next year will bring a lot of change and as an increasing number of customers move from vehicle ownership to usership, our members will be ready to meet their needs; providing the expertise to guide customers and businesses to the right transport solution, considering affordability, sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

“BVRLA members know their customers, understand their products and are experts in combining the two in the safest, most sustainable and cost-effective way. This is why they are now collectively responsible for almost five million vehicles– that’s one-in-eight cars, one-in-five vans and one-in-five trucks licensed on UK roads.”

The BVRLA unveiled its 2018 Industry Outlook Report at the association’s annual industry conference, held at Nottingham’s East Midlands Conference Centre.

The report provided a collective industry view on eight key subject areas:

  1. Digitisation – More investment is being made in the customer-facing elements of the business to provide a personal service that delivers brand loyalty. Digital services will require ongoing investment to harness every opportunity.
  2. Air quality and emissions – Diesel dominance of the commercial vehicle market will not change yet. Uncertainties around air quality measures will drive more people towards renting and leasing. 2018 will be the year of the in-depth fleet review.
  3. Personal leasing – Personal leasing will continue to nibble away at the ‘perk’ company car market and demand for grey fleet management is set to grow. PCP will remain under the spotlight.
  4. Connected vehicles and data – We will see ‘connected consolidation’ as companies get to grips with GDPR compliance and agree terms for working with vehicle and driver data. Operators will increasingly rely on ‘brought-in’ rather than ‘built-in’ connectivity using smartphone apps and dash cams.
  5. Mobility services – App-delivered, dealership-based car rental is coming. New technology, electrification and corporate demand will drive a 20% increase in the car club fleet. Although integrated mobility as a service won’t take off on 2018, the range of individual mobility services on offer will grow.
  6. Electric vehicles – Hybrids will dominate EV registrations and improvements in real-world MPG and CO2 will make them an attractive alternative to diesel. We don’t expect to see EV growth in the commercial vehicle market. 2018 will not be a ‘breakthrough’ year for plug-in vehicles.
  7. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems – ADAS re-calibration will become a headache for fleet operators. The independent repair and maintenance market will struggle to meet the demands of an increasingly complex range of vehicles.
  8. Commercial vehicles – The CV market will continue to polarize between firms working with HGVs and LCVs. Rising use of safety technology will avert the need for regulation of the LCV market. There will be growing concerns around the risk profile of a new generation of self-employed, ‘gig-economy’ van drivers.