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Helping Northern Ireland Businesses focus on the Grey Fleet Challenge

Grey fleet cars, defined as vehicles owned by employees that are used for business purposes, are something that most businesses tend to rely on for some of their employee travel.  But, on average 8 years old, they are at a higher risk of breaking down and less reliable than newer models, says Sam Sterry – Head of SME, Europcar Mobility Group UK

Grey fleet can put strain on SMEs and Public Sector organisations in Northern Ireland for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is the unexpected costs of providing a replacement vehicle or paying for transport when an employee’s own car breaks down. Plus the potential lost revenue of employees missing appointments or meetings.

It is also hard for employers to collect data about employees’ own vehicles, leaving them in the dark as to whether a vehicle has a valid MOT, tax, insurance, when it was last serviced and if it is fully road-worthy. Here’s also the additional administrative burden of keeping track of expenses with claiming business mileage.

But most significant is the duty of care risk of grey fleet usage. If a driver is involved in an accident while driving a grey fleet vehicle for work the risk for the employer could be considerable. Where there is evidence of failings under the Duty of Care Act or the Corporate Manslaughter Act, employers (including senior employees) could find themselves facing prosecution which may result in hefty fines or even prison sentences.

Figures from the Energy Saving Trust (EST), in partnership with the British Vehicle Leasing and Rental Association (BVRLA), revealed that there are 14 million grey fleet cars on UK roads, driving approximately 12 billion business miles each year on UK roads. Because grey fleet vehicles are older they use more fuel and higher emissions, the report states that grey fleet vehicles cost the private sector almost £5 billion and emit 3.2m tonnes of CO2 and 7,038 tonnes of NOx which could impact on the company’s environmental objectives.

So, how can businesses tackle the grey fleet challenge? Committing to the acquisition of vehicles is financially unrealistic for many businesses so an effective solution is to use rental vehicles. Europcar Advantage long term hire provides businesses with a genuine alternative to grey fleet, offering access to brand new vehicles at a fixed rate. With no lengthy contracts to sign, Advantage offers the perfect solution for businesses who need access to vehicles without the long term commitment of ownership. With inclusive breakdown and servicing, this means it’s much easier to keep on top of employees’ travel activity than if they were using their own vehicles.

For any private business or Public Sector organisation, managing costs, streamlining processes and complying with duty of care requirements are key. For many, the ability to turn to a vehicle hire partner will undoubtedly help tackle the grey fleet challenge and ensure that the business is compliant with statutory regulations.

For further information on how Europcar can help your business, please contact Sam Sterry – email: [email protected] or Tel: 07789 922171