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Are we moving towards grey fleets?

According to Honda, this year will likely see an increase in grey fleets and end-user purchasing.
Marc Samuel
Marc Samuel, Honda

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14 January 2019

As SMMT data reveals that fleet sales for 2018 were down 7% signalling the worst new car market performance in five years, one vehicle manufacturer is predicting a sea-change in traditional fleet procurement for 2019.

According to Honda, this year will likely see an increase in grey fleets and end-user purchasing.

Honda has been refocusing its fleet efforts throughout the past 12 months to work more closely with fleet end-users, accommodating an anticipated increase in grey fleet enquiries and user-chooser customers.

The company’s Platinum Programme is entering its second year and sees Honda working closely with its nationwide dealer network to help them thoroughly understand the bespoke needs and desires of fleet and corporate customers, for both new and used vehicle inquiries.

According to Honda’s fleet sales operations manager, Marc Samuel, the Platinum Programme is enabling the company to move even closer towards end-user customers.

Samuel said: “Fleet procurement is changing and for many, last year’s decline in sales will not come as a huge surprise. Some organisations have made the traditional, professional fleet manager job redundant in recent years, augmenting the position to be responsible for multiple other areas as well as vehicles, and in several examples we have found companies have turned away from fleet solutions altogether.

“In place of these solutions, we are seeing more professionals using their own cars for business travel and end-users assuming more responsibility for fleet management.

“By building relationships with end users at a dealership level, we are not only able to maximise aftersales services through keeping dealers involved at every stage of the vehicle lifecycle, but we can also provide valuable advice on vehicle maintenance and documentation to ease some of the concerns businesses have around grey fleets.”

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) reports that UK employees travel 12bn miles a year in 14 million grey fleets, a trend that is rapidly increasing among SMEs.

Samuel continues: “Some larger organisations still view grey fleets with caution and struggle to manage compliance, but we are seeing an increasing trend towards grey fleet adoption among smaller companies that do not have a traditional fleet function.

“By keeping grey fleet vehicles in the hands of professional Honda dealerships, we are also helping SME Business Owners and their associated HR managers to access and collect important vehicle data and enabling them to carry out their duty of care commitment to employees.”

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Chris Wright

Chris Wright

Chris Wright has been covering the automotive industry nationally and internationally for 30 years. Following spells with consumer titles he became News Editor of Automotive Management (AM), Editor of Automotive International, International Editor for Detroit-based Automotive News, and Editor of Dealer Update. He has also co-authored several FT Management Reports and contributes regularly to Justauto.com

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