This is where you’ll find all of our blogs, articles, insights and general musings around the world of business vehicle leasing, purchasing and management.
Vehicle Consulting Group are thrilled to announce the appointment of Gareth Richards as Commercial & Operations Director. Richards joined Vehicle Consulting Group as Business Consultant back in Autumn 2020, from his previous role as Global HR Talent Project Manager at GE Healthcare.
With the arrival of the original Model S and Model X from Tesla feeling like a lifetime ago, the Jaguar I-PACE since having been joined by Mercedes' EQC and the Audi e-tron with a Sportback variant on the way, and Elon's Model 3 proving a runaway success in both the retail and leasing segments, fleet favourites BMW may seem a trifle slow in some minds to enter the larger, premium EV scene.
When it comes to cars, there's no doubt that motorists are being encouraged to switch to plug-in hybrid and all-electric models as soon as possible by all manner of voices and there is certainly plenty of choice out there. In the light commercial vehicle (LCV) world, though, PHEV and EV vans are far from ubiquitous, electrified offerings having been slower to emerge. We look at electric van developments and available models so far, along with what's on the horizon.
Some drivers love them while others hate them, but we concur with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership's robust description of motorways as "the backbone of the country and key to driving a successful economy" and agree that a motorway utopia would entail reliability, reach and safety.
The number of the UK's company cars per se is unarguably reducing and stood at around a million vehicles at Lex Autolease's most recent count, but the overall number of 'fleet' vehicles is growing and has likely exceeded fifteen million. This is primarily down to the trend in employees opting out of BIK-heavy company cars and either buying, financing or leasing personal vehicles or continuing to run their existing 'grey fleet' cars.
Interest in buying and leasing hybrid vehicles continues to grow amongst company car drivers seeking to reduce their benefit in kind (BIK) tax liability or avoid the 4% diesel surcharge, fleet managers striving to enhance their organisations' environmental standings, and scheme opt-out cash allowance-takers; but deciphering the jargon and lingo can be confusing.
The sixth generation BMW 3 Series has aged very well indeed and still looks quite contemporary today, but with the latest version of the larger 5 Series having been doing the rounds for a couple of years, Munich's mid-size compact executive saloon was definitely due a new model. How does the F30, which is new from the ground up and now available for leasing on business contract hire, compare?
Headlines like Auto Express' 'Latest diesel cars emit almost no NOx according to new research' and Fleet News' 'New diesels proven to be as clean as petrol models' will undoubtedly leave some fleet managers and personal contract hire customers scratching their heads – but manufacturers or 'OEMs', with the exception of clever Mercedes, seemingly have a one-track mind.
The advent of the 2018/19 tax year saw the 3% diesel surcharge rise to 4%, which might not seem much in itself, but against a backdrop of increasingly punitive measures by HMRC, CO2 re-categorisation as a result of WLTP pushing many models up a band, and the Government's recent dilution of the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) to ironically exclude hybrids and benefit only electric cars, every pound matters to company car fleets.
The hatchback segment has long been defined by the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A Class at the 'premium' end, with the Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf accounting for most other private purchases and corporate fleet leases. Recent years have seen ŠKODA become a resolutely more desirable brand with models that attract on many levels, but until now the Czech marque's lineup has lacked a genuine contender in the hatchback arena, whether family or corporate.
For those who've been mulling over buying or leasing an electric car, 'range anxiety' has typically concerned some – and who can blame them? After all, driving to visit relatives, enjoy a day out somewhere or perhaps to fulfil a work commitment while smugly emitting zilch out of the back is one thing, but running out of juice and becoming stranded is quite another.
Not every small and medium-size business has a specialist fleet management provider like Vehicle Consulting caring for their at-work drivers and company car and van fleets, the role often handled part-time by someone in HR or finance, or by the business owner.
As well as welcoming in the latest '68 number plates, last month also marked a much more serious change in the world of cars and vans. Acronyms are easily missed but the four-lettered abbreviation WLTP, standing for Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, has been having quite an impact on individual personal contract hire (PCH) car leasing customers and fleets alike.
With diesel proclaimed as dead by so many voices, partly fuelled (ahem) by ever-increasing concerns over public health linked to emissions, van manufacturers the world over are busy beavering away at developing commercial vehicles with mild and conventional hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, but fully electric vans didn't seem to be within reach – until now.
Any private vehicles not owned or leased by a business or other organisation but used for regular or even occasional 'at-work' journeys by their owners come under the definition of grey fleet, including cars leased by staff under their own personal contract hire (PCH) arrangements perhaps by means of cash allowances in lieu of company cars.
The Kia team have clearly found a taste for Carlsberg and having set out to create a five-door, rear-wheel drive grand tourer inspired by the French Riviera and hoping to inadvertently scalp a few sales away from Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes and the like, they've come up with an absolute cracker as far as the visuals are concerned.
The very first edition of this well-known van remained on sale for 13 years, so it's no surprise that Vauxhall has stuck with the same saleable formula for its successor… with a few upgrades, of course. Danni Bagnall explains.
Vehicle Consulting can help by identifying the most cost-effective business contract hire (leasing) packages for your fleet or sole trader business from the growing number of 'halfway house' vans being introduced with increased gross vehicle weights and therefore payloads.
From national flags and football team crests to religious symbols and even jewellery designers' hallmarks, the mere glimpse of certain icons can awaken emotions. The MY15 Maserati Quattroporte in Grigio Maratea proved equally arresting and soul-stirring as it prowled the streets of Skipton before being unleased in the Dales, with the unmistakable Trident on its grille, flanks adorned with triple air vents, gorgeous alloy wheels, Rosso brake callipers and sleek headlights.