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Company car market hit by crunch

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Though company cars are still as important as ever among business chiefs, firms are increasingly limiting the choice of vehicle available to employees, it has been revealed.

A survey by fleet management company GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services found the number of companies allowing drivers to choose any car has fallen from more than 20% to just 12.2% in the last year.

While at the same time the percentage of employers who look to a single manufacturer for all their vehicle needs has increased by 3.7%.

Also, those running businesses site cost factors, such as tax and fuel prices, as occupying the top five slots of things to watch out for when considering the market.

But as many as 95.5% of employers described the company car as "important" for employees needing a vehicle to do their job.

Gary Killeen, commercial leader at GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services, said: "The company car schemes of the 1970s saw employees given pretty much identical vehicles and it was common to see car parks outside factories and offices full of nothing but Ford Cortinas or Vauxhall Vivas.

"While we are not yet moving towards quite that situation, we are certainly seeing a reversal of the trends of the last decade."

© Press Association 2008