Are we all back in our driving seats, so to speak?
The Christmas and new year break is always a good one, but the first week back is always something of a slog.
But with that behind us, and the immediate issues of implementing Q1 strategies immediately before us, what faces us in the future in terms of fleet?
I’ve been consulting my crystal ball for the top fleet trends for 2013. And these are my top five:
- Decreased diesel uptake
Thought I’d start with a bit of a shocker. But I reckon we’ll start to see fewer fleet drivers in diesel cars this year.
Why? Partly because the tax efficiency of petrol/electric hybrid cars over the next few years will see many drivers migrate to the alternative fuel company car, but mainly because small capacity turbocharged petrol engines will make a bigger impact as they become increasingly efficient.
We’ve already started to see this trend. It’s been led by Ford and its 1.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine in the Focus; the same engine is also going into the all-new Mondeo to launch at the back end of 2013. But other car makers are following suit with high MPG turbocharged petrol units as the means to significantly reduce diesel emissions further becomes increasingly limited.
Two further crucial factors are the lower price of petrol at the pumps; and the fact that for the time being, diesel company cars still attract a 3% company car tax surcharge.I reckon we’ll start to see fewer fleet drivers in diesel cars this year.
- Average CO2 emissions to fall below 130g/km
At the end of 2012, the average CO2 emissions of all new cars stood at 133.1g/km. By this time next year I believe it will have moved significantly – to sub 130g/km.
The Fleet Alliance fleet is already leading the way: in 2012 emissions fell to an all-time low of 125g/km from 130g/km in 2011. I anticipate a similar drop in 2013.
- Fleets to implement 130g/km CO2 ceiling
To a certain extent, you can’t really have point 2 above without fleets changing their policy. But legislation will ensure a new fleet focus on this 130g/km figure.
From April 2013, the 100% leasing disallowance tax break reduces from 160g/km to 130g/km. So sub-130g/km cars will become more tax efficient. At the same time, the main 18% writing down capital allowance tax break moves from 160g/km to 130g/km, too.
- Continuing increased volumes for Korean brands
Hyundai and Kia have made enormous steps forward over the last few years in improving the quality of their cars, the design, and CO2 emissions, to the point where they are becoming a real fleet alternative for company car drivers. Especially when P11D prices are so competitive.
Last year Hyundai’s market share increased by 18%, Kia’s by an even more impressive 24%. Expect more of the same in 2013.
If you needed any further convincing, it’s little coincidence that, this week, Hyundai announced the appointment of Martin Wilson as fleet director in order to focus more closely on fleet sales.
- Fuel prices
These never go away. Over the last five years fuel prices have risen 50%. There’s no reason to see why this trend should change. So fuel efficiency, and fuel cost reduction strategies, must remain high on every fleet agenda.
So there you go: five fleet trends for 2013. Will I be right? Let’s see this time in 2014!