When it was announced that Fleet News would once again be running their annual Fleet Management Live event, we were only too pleased to be able to visit and gain an insight into the future of the Fleet Industry.
The two-day event was held at the NEC Arena, and took place on 19 and 20 October 2016. We made the trip over to the NEC, and our day started with the ICFM (Institute of Car Fleet Management), who opened the show with a ‘Breakfast for Beginners’ seminar.
They gave a brief insight into the current dynamics of the Fleet Industry, and focused their talk upon the evolving role of managing a fleet, before reviewing the pros and cons of different method of sourcing your fleet, and why contract hire is the most popular method for company cars.
The ICFM stressed how a Fleet Managers role is expanding and becoming more complex, and identified key elements that Fleet Managers must assess. The widely talked about topic, Brexit, was of course one of these. Following Brexit, the ICFM stated that cost control is key. Fleet Managers need to find the areas where you can manage the marginal gain, helping to give you an improved bottom line. One cost which they expected to rise, is fuel costs. Our Fuel Cards are an example of how we can help Fleet Managers to control their costs. For more information about the ICFM, and their membership services, visit their website.
There was a lot for us to get our teeth into at the NEC, with stands full of exhibitors from across the Fleet Industry and manufacturers displaying their new makes and models. We were able to get a first look at Land Rover’s most versatile SUV yet, the all-new Land Rover Discovery. Additionally, BMW presented what could become the future of company cars, with their new iPerformance range, which brought the latest plug-in hybrid technology to more and more models, including the 225xe Series Active Tourer, 330e Saloon, the X5 xDrive40e, and the 740e Saloon.
The future of vehicle technology and the Fleet Industry was very much at the forefront of the event, and especially so in the Fleet Insight Theatre, where we attended the ‘Focus on fleets: SMEs’ lecture.
The lecture was delivered by a panellist of experts within the industry, such as Jay Parmar (Director of policy and membership at BVRLA) and Lesley Upham (IAM Roadsmart Commercial Director). The lecture addressed key issues such as important changes to the law, and ways to reduce costs.
Jay provided us with an insight into the upcoming results of key HMRC consultations that will undoubtedly affect the fleet industry in some way, in particular, the HMRC consultation on Salary Sacrifice. Changes to laws surrounding Salary Sacrifice will have an effect on company cars, where employees have access to a cash option. The result, will be a tax rise, which will hit 650,000 salary sacrifice drivers out of 940,000, should the proposed changes be implemented. The BVRLA are challenging this however, by arguing how cars are becoming greener and safer. The results of the consultation will be announced on 23 November 2016, and legislation will be in place by 6 April 2017. To read the consultations in full and how it may impact you and your business, read them here: Salary Sacrifice, ULEV Company Car Tax.
Moving on from the possible impacts to the Fleet Industry, both Jay and Lesley discussed the exciting topic of emerging vehicle technology. Technology in the industry is constantly adapting and improving, and the technology that was discussed was the levels of automation in vehicles. Cars are approaching a stage of semi-autonomy, with features such as lane departure assist, brake assist. There was a real buzz around cars to becoming fully automated, which will lead to safety dramatically improving. Although full autonomy is some years away yet, it really did fill the Theatre with great excitement for the future.
The event was a showcase for the future of the Fleet Industry, and whilst uncertainty about the impact of Brexit remains, the advancements in vehicle technology proves the industry is an exciting place to be.
From all that attended from Sandicliffe Motor Contracts, we are very thankful to everyone at Fleet Management Live