HONDA is predicting a sea-change in traditional fleet procurement this year with a likely increase in grey fleets and end-user purchasing.
The carmaker refocused its fleet efforts during the past 12 months to work more closely with fleet end-users, accommodating an anticipated increase in grey fleet inquiries and user-chooser customers.
The company’s Platinum Programme is entering its second year and Honda is working closely with its nationwide dealer network to help them thoroughly understand the bespoke needs and desires of fleet and corporate customers, for both new and used vehicle inquiries.
According to Honda’s fleet sales operations manager, Marc Samuel, the Platinum Programme is enabling the company to move even closer towards end-user customers.
Samuel said: “Fleet procurement is changing and for many, last year’s decline in sales will not come as a huge surprise.
“Some organisations have made the traditional, professional fleet manager job redundant in recent years, augmenting the position to be responsible for multiple other areas as well as vehicles, and in several examples we have found companies have turned away from fleet solutions altogether.
“In place of these solutions, we are seeing more professionals using their own cars for business travel and end-users assuming more responsibility for fleet management.
“By building relationships with end users at a dealership level, we are not only able to maximise aftersales services through keeping dealers involved at every stage of the vehicle lifecycle, but we can also provide valuable advice on vehicle maintenance and documentation to ease some of the concerns businesses have around grey fleets.”
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) reports that UK employees travel 12bn miles a year in 14 million grey fleets, a trend that is rapidly increasing among SMEs.
Samuel added: “Some larger organisations still view grey fleets with caution and struggle to manage compliance, but we are seeing an increasing trend towards grey fleet adoption among smaller companies that do not have a traditional fleet function.
“By keeping grey fleet vehicles in the hands of professional Honda dealerships, we are also helping SME Business Owners and their associated HR managers to access and collect important vehicle data and enabling them to carry out their duty of care commitment to employees.”