Prior to recent swift steps towards recession, their preoccupation was rising fuel prices.
The views of 300 fleet decision makers prior to the liquidity crisis show that 28 per cent reckoned fuel costs were the ‘greatest challenge facing the industry at this time’, followed by raw material costs.
The economy was third, with 12 per cent.
Asked to look ahead to the next 12 months, over half again stipulated fuel prices.
Marcus Puddy, head of consultancy services at Lloyds TSB Autolease, said: ‘It’s not just fleet managers who were caught off guard before the credit crisis really took hold, but other influencers that we polled – such as finance and operations personnel, who are, arguably, better informed about the wider economy.
‘The good news is that most companies are now fixing their sights firmly on ways to stop the squeeze, and make cost savings across their fleets.’
What does this mean for car dealers, as fleets begin to set purchasing policies for 2009? In short, a rapid overhaul of policy, which will affect the sort of cars they demand from you.
‘Some are considering an overhaul of fleet policy,’ said Puddy, ‘while others are looking to streamline in specific areas, such as vehicle choice, mileage allowances and tax efficiency.
‘Fuel is one area where most businesses struggle to maximise efficiencies. Those with more progressive policies have already capped their choice lists using CO2 limits.
‘Many businesses are also migrating to whole life cost policies, to reveal the true running costs of their drivers’ choices.’