The Fleet Cost of Covid-19: 52% of Fleet Managers Paid Increased Termination Fees on Leased Vehicles
As alterations to the business landscape continue and fluctuations in demand remain the norm, research of fleet managers has highlighted the benefits of staying flexible.
The research commissioned by Europcar Mobility Group UK in August 2020 found that 75 per cent of fleet managers had to review their fleet acquisition policy as a result of the pandemic. The financial impact of COVID-19 is particularly highlighted by the over half who admitted that they have had to pay increased termination fees on leased vehicles.
With economic uncertainty continuing well into 2021, an optimised vehicle fleet that can be changed as requirements vary will be key to ongoing success for many businesses. And flexible long-term rental addresses this need particularly well, providing access to a range of up-to-date vehicles but without the need for a long-term financial commitment.
Another challenge for fleet managers is vehicle supply, with the ‘perfect storm’ of COVID-19 and Brexit having a severe impact on access to new vehicles. Indeed, the Europcar research found that 62 per cent of fleet managers had to extend existing contracts in 2020 due to issues with supply of new or replacement vehicles. And this situation is likely to be exacerbated in the early part of 2021.
At times when supply lines cannot be guaranteed, vehicle hire is a cost-effective way of plugging the gap and allowing companies to utilise safe, well maintained vehicles with the minimum of disruption to their day-to-day business as Stuart Russell, Specialist Vehicle Director, Europcar Mobility Group UK explained:
“The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said ‘The only constant in life is change’ and as we enter a new year and another period of uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic, businesses will need to remain as agile and adaptable as ever. At Europcar Mobility Group UK our long-term solutions provide options for businesses to expand and contract their vehicle fleets as and when demand requires, offering a cost-effective alternative to leasing or outright purchase so that they can concentrate on running an efficient business and meeting customer expectations.”
Europcar Announces Solus Tyre Agreement with Kwik Fit for Selfserve Tyre Bookings
Europcar Mobility Group UK is the only rental company in the UK to launch a solus tyre agreement with Kwik Fit Fleet to enable Europcar customers to access a selfserve tyre replacement facility.
Ben Spokes, Maintenance & Administration Manager at Europcar stated, “This new web portal enables customers to book their tyre replacements directly with their nearest local Kwik Fit centre, meaning it saves them time and ensures it is on a day and time that works for them.”
He continued, “Previously our customers would have to contact a member of our team who would then organise an appointment, which may not always be convenient for the customer. Now that’s in the past, the process has been streamlined, which creates greater customer satisfaction.”
Matt Genese, National Rental Account Manager at Kwik Fit Fleet added, “With vehicle registrations added to our “Fleet Web Bookings” portal as they come on fleet with Europcar, it means when customers put their registration number in, all of the details are there for confirmation, including the tyre sizes. The customer has the option of an appointment via Kwik Fit Mobile or visiting a centre at their choice of date and time. All repairs are logged to the vehicle and billed in accordance with Europcar’s agreed billing method.”
Matt finished by saying, “By offering an appointment-based service at Kwik Fit centres to complement our on-demand/drive-in service, and by including Kwik Fit Mobile, we can ensure that Europcar customers get the level of service that is appropriate for their demands. It helps us to ensure we get the customer back on road quickly and safely. This service is now in place an available to all Europcar customers.
Europcar Partners with Geotab and Surecam to Offer Telematics and Video Solution for the Van Rental Market
The new partnership brings added value and insight for fleet managers.
Europcar Van and Truck, a brand of Europcar Mobility Group UK, today announced a new UK partnership with Geotab and SureCam to deliver telematics and video technology as a single, cost effective solution for the van and truck market. This new partnership enables Europcar’s long-term van and truck rental customers to access valuable insights to help improve driving behaviour and optimise their fleet utilisation.
Available as an addition to Europcar’s Flex long-term van rentals, the in-vehicle technology offers fleet managers information via a personalised dashboard enabling them to understand driving habits and reward safe driving behaviours. Plus, in the case of an accident, not only is the fleet manager notified immediately but the video telematics offers indisputable evidence that can be used in the insurance claims process.
Through the SureCam forward-facing camera technology, the fleet manager has access to a street level view and instant video footage of road incidents. And with the telematics data processed by Geotab, fleet utilisation can be optimised and downtime can be minimised through forward planning maintenance.
The solution is easy to use, with training and ongoing support provided by trained engineers. And along with Europcar’s competitive rates and flexible rental periods, installation or de-installation of Geotab and SureCam is provided free of charge.
“We are always exploring new ways to add value for our customers. In our opinion, we have taken this to a new level by choosing to partner with leading suppliers to offer one of the best single solutions in the market at a commercially viable price” said Stuart Russell, LCV Sales Director at Europcar Vans & Trucks. “We are confident that together, these two technologies can help support the enormous challenges currently facing commercial fleets.”
Sam Footer, Strategic Partnership Director at SureCam added: “Our partnership with Europcar offers clear value for fleet managers utilising rental vehicles. The opportunity to include SureCam camera technology will help improve driving safety and therefore operational efficiencies and reduce insurance claims.”
David Savage, Regional Manager, UKI at Geotab concluded: “This partnership is a great example of our unique ecosystem at play. We look forward to helping Europcar’s Van division customers gain access to telematics insights that can help maximise fuel efficiency and keep vehicle wear and tear to a minimum, resulting in reduced downtime, improved vehicle utilisation and ultimately, cost savings.”
Europcar Partners With Telefónica on Vehicle Monitoring Initiative
Europcar Mobility Group is to partner with Telefónica and Geotab to enable real-time telematics monitoring of vehicle fleets.
The technology will provide the group with access to engine data, driving behaviour and GPS location including insights into distances travelled, mileage, speed, acceleration, fuel level and accident detection. Learn more ...
Europcar’s New Repair Pods Reduce
Vehicle Downtime by a Third
While many businesses had limited access to garages during Lockdown, Europcar, Pennings Accident Repair Centres and ACIS Ltd have been working together to trial Repair Pods at two key Europcar sites, Skyport and Purfleet.
Having repair facilities in situ at these two van supersites has helped minimise the impact of the recent lockdowns, and reduced vehicle downtime by a third, enabling customers to have their revenue generating vehicles back on the road more quickly. As a result, this trial will become a permanent partnership, which will steadily be rolled out to other key Europcar sites into 2021.
As vehicles came to site, they were triaged - could they be repaired in the pod or was more extensive damage repair needed in a traditional bodyshop? Around 70% of vehicles were able to be repaired on site in the pods, meaning a quicker turnaround.
Ian Parry, Head of Fleet Motor Damage, Europcar Mobility Group stated, "Trialling Repair Pods in two of our key locations has clearly demonstrated the many benefits of on-site repairs. The use of the pods has significantly reduced our vehicle downtime compared to traditional bodyshops, whilst maintaining fully compliant, high quality and cost effective repairs. We are delighted to now be working to embed repair pod solutions within our wider network. Further enhancing our repair proposition and customer experience."
Matthew Penning, Managing Director of Pennings Accident Repair Centres continued, “Working with Europcar on this project has been both exciting and ground-breaking. We’ve been able to demonstrate that by providing a dedicated, tailored solution in partnership with Europcar provides all parties with a massive win that cannot be replicated in traditional models.”
Damon Curtis, Business Development Director of ACIS Ltd added, “We’re proud to be supporting such a ground-breaking initiative as repair pod in conjunction with Europcar and Pennings as well as ensuring the timely supply of premium based product. However, this is only the start of the journey, as ongoing consistent service, comprehensive product supply and technical support are all key to ensuring the successful positioning and nationwide delivery of the new repair pod programme.”
Europcar’s next repair pod installation is scheduled for Sheffield, and additional strategically located sites in the near future to service local customers’ fleets. Good news for all customers who want to keep their vehicles on the road.
Flexible Van Hire Key for Businesses Helping to Drive the UK Economy
Reliance on home deliveries combined with government commitment to infrastructure sees Europcar UK Van and Truck Rentals business report strong demand.
With online shopping and the consequent home deliveries becoming the ‘new normal’, plus other sectors, such as construction returning to pre-pandemic levels, Europcar’s UK Vans & Truck division has reported a strong demand for van rentals, in some cases in excess of 2019 levels. The flexibility delivered by Europcar’s long-term rental solutions has also been a key factor for businesses that rely on commercial vehicles but need ways to manage fluctuating workloads and workforce.
“With estimates suggesting that COVID-19 will cost SMEs, who account for over 99% of all UK businesses, an average £11,779 each, in lost work, loan repayments and lost earnings, it’s not surprising that UK businesses need imaginative solutions to keep them on the road”,
explained Stuart Russell, LCV Sales Director, Europcar Vans & Trucks.
“The role of flexible van rental, particularly in the logistics and construction sectors, has been very important over the last few months and will continue to be a crucial lifeline during these economically uncertain times. Rental - whether just for a day or two or for a longer term - offers an off balance sheet solution that does not require large initial cash outlay or extra funding. And this makes it ideal for companies that are looking to protect their cash and not have fleets sitting around that they may not need every day.
“Our expert team can offer businesses the support they need to get the right vehicle for the job at the right time, as we all play our part in ‘building back better.’”
Supporting 10% of the UK workforce in 2019, Light Commercial Vehicles make a significant contribution to the UK economy. Yet research carried out by Europcar in 2019 found that 71% of UK businesses have ‘spare’ vans in their fleets to cover SMR downtime. These underused vehicles tie up capital which could be put to better use and as organisations now need to focus on ways to keep cash within the business and to deal with rapidly evolving changes in demand, rental rather than outright purchase of vehicles can offer greater flexibility.
As a leading player in the van rental market, Europcar has a wide range of vehicles available with a range of services that cater to varied needs. One-off van and truck rentals, through to longer-term hire means companies can respond quickly and efficiently to changing circumstances and customer demands – all with no long term commitment or pressure on the balance sheet.
“To face the new economic challenges we’re all currently experiencing, UK businesses need to work with supply partners who can be flexible enough to understand the commercial issues they face and provide a bespoke solution” concluded Stuart Russell. “Europcar’s nationwide branch and van supersites network means convenient and quick access to vehicles – all with added hygiene measures in place to keep everyone safe. Customers benefit from competitive rental rates – including ones that are fixed for 12 months, and with no deposits or up-front payments plus the support of an experienced customer service team, rental packages can provide timely support, when and where it is needed.”
COVID-19: The New Ways to Rent a Vehicle
Europcar Mobility Group UK introduces the ‘new normal’ with the launch and promotions of alternate ways to rent a vehicle.
Consumer behavior has irreversibly changed during lockdown as we have become a nation of ‘home delivery shoppers.’ In direct response to this trend, Europcar Mobility Group UK has enhanced their ‘Deliver & Collect’ service, creating a new normal in the rental industry.
As part of their group wide 'Safety Programme', and to support the ongoing focus on customer experience and hygiene, they have introduced an enhanced safe distance ‘Deliver and Collect’ service, quoted as ‘the most convenient and safest way’ to rent a vehicle in the market today.
From the comfort of their home or workplace, and at a time that suits the customer, the Europcar ‘Deliver and Collect’ service is available throughout summer from only £1 each way - less than half the price of the nation’s favourite take-away coffee.
In addition, a ‘Click & Collect’ option has been introduced providing customers with the ability to bypass the need to enter a rental station to pick up a vehicle. Customers are met in a designated ‘Click & Collect’ area of the car park where a member of staff hands over the keys and rental agreement at a safe distance.
Gary Smith, Managing Director, Europcar Mobility Group UK stated, “At Europcar Mobility Group we recognise that things have changed during the Coronavirus pandemic, and so have we. Our ‘Click and Collect’ and ‘Deliver and Collect’ services offer our customers options that offer peace of mind, safety and convenience.”
About Europcar Mobility Group
Trusted For 70 Years
Europcar Vans & Trucks
You already know us for car rental, but did you know we have a huge fleet of vans and specialist vehicles too? Our specialist vehicle fleet of tippers, dropsides, 4x4 pick ups and Chapter 8-compliant vehicles are ready and waiting for you, usually within a few hours of ordering.
Why use Europcar Vans?
- Rent the vehicles you need, when you need them - don’t tie up your cash flow in leased vehicles.
- Competitive rates and fixed prices - allowing you to budget effectively, with no early termination penalties.
- Our vehicles are Euro 6 compliant - embracing all the latest manufacturer technology so you meet Clean Air Zone requirements for central city location access.
- A nationwide network of stations - enabling you to access vehicles where you need them.
- All vehicles are the latest makes and models - ensuring you have the most reliable vehicles for your job.
- Geotab, industry-leading telematics - offering the ability to measure, monitor and manage your fleet.
- Need racking, tow bars and beacons? Adapt your vehicle to meet your bespoke requirements.
- 24/7 breakdown support - Service Maintenance and Repair service via Rivus Fleet Solutions (formerly BT Fleet) a nationwide garage solution partner supported by over 50 mobile servicing units that keeps you on the road and minimises vehicle downtime on business critical, revenue-generating assets.
Addressing Your Issues
The UK economy is undergoing a period of change and growing uncertainty. Many businesses are facing challenging decisions about the future of their fleet and the mobility of their workforce. The change in how vehicle emissions are measured is raising unanswered questions about what tax bands vehicles will fit into. There’s a question too over Benefit-in-Kind for company cars beyond April 2023.
External pressures such as an increase in congestion and introduction of new Clean Air Zones, a reduction in on-street parking and the introduction of traffic restrictions in more and more cities are also adding to the climate of uncertainty.
For these reasons, many businesses are turning away from vehicle ownership, and even long-term leasing, towards more flexible alternatives.
Offering the newest cars on the road, whether you want to replace your entire leased/owned fleet, just a few vehicles or to simply top up your fleet during peak times, Europcar Advantage provides options and choices.
- Advantage vehicles can be available in as few as 3-5 days – rather than the 12 weeks typical for a lease vehicle.
- Brand new, plain vans are available in 10 working days.
- The Advantage fleet includes the latest models and technologies and a mix of low-emission petrol and diesel vehicles as well as hybrids.
- All vehicles in the Advantage fleet are ‘business ready’ fitted with Bluetooth and Sat Nav.
- And with our deliver and collect service, we will bring the vehicle to you at work or at home.
Europcar Advantage offers clear, fixed monthly rates to help you manage your budget effectively. There are no upfront costs and, after 3 months, no penalties for early return. With a consistent pricing structure, you know precisely what you’re paying for. And you choose how long you keep the vehicle (from 3-36 months). With Europcar’s dedicated Advantage team offering 24/7 support, your long-term vehicle hire is always hassle and worry-free.
In Safe Hands