page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16

Business servicesManufacturer newsFleetprofileFunding methodsNews digestCar RecruitmentreviewsVehicle acquisition Leasing v outright purchasedirectly owned and the rest are leased. At present, our preferred method is finance leasing but we constantly review our financing to ensure best value for money."Royal Mail has extensive servicing facilities, with 100 vehicle centres and 800 technicians who maintain the whole fleet, so SMR is not a natural part of its vehicle contracts.Royal Mail has also been buying elec-tric vehicles and hybrids, initially through the Government-sponsored Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme. This sector is still experimenting with acquisition methods, with manufacturers like Smith selling the whole vehicle, and others like Mercedes-Benz offering lease only with its Vito E-Cell. The final pref-erence will come down, in time, to proven battery life - if they are likely to need renewing at the end of their first life, users will want manufacturers or lease companies to carry the risk.Equipment and support services company Speedy Asset Services leases its vehicles, including 743 cars and almost 1,200 LCVs from Lex Autolease. "The major benefit is cashflow," says Ian Leonard, transport and logistics director. "The lease includes all our servicing and maintenance so that helps with compliance too." For fleets who handle their own main-tenance and vehicle disposal, outright purchase can prove cost-effective. Gateshead Council purchases most of its vehicles, with just a sample on contract hire."We are looking to see if there is money to be saved from hiring," said its fleet manager Graham Telfer. "But we have our own workshops so main-tenance isn't a problem and the vehicles are worked out by the end of five years so there is no effort in disposing of them. So far, purchasing has always made sense for us."ContinuedFacilities management company ISS UK has 1,200 LCVs and 800 cars. UK group fleet manager Nick Rowden says leasing makes his life easier and is a better use of resource and capital. "We turn over 600 cars a year, that's two a day. We would have to have someone monitoring the sales of those constantly to ensure they were fetching the right price. Every single vehicle is leased because it helps cashflow. Also, we have better things to do with our money. I previously worked at a company where we owned our own fleet and it was a nightmare."ISS comprises part of the European fleet so it has considerable negotiating power centrally with manufacturers and leasing companies. It has recently expanded its supplier base from single source to three manufacturers and two leasing companies. "It helps keep everyone's pencil sharp," said Rowden.He added: "All the servicing and maintenance is wrapped up in the lease." Leasing also saves him time: "I spend more time looking after the grey fleet of 300 vehicles than I do the leased fleet."Case study: Negotiating power aids ISS UK's'We are looking to see if there is money to be saved from hiring'Graham Telfer, Gateshead Council

Fleet profile AAAA looks to electric vans to cut soaring fuel costsUK's largest motoring organisation trials Peugeot E Expert vans on its breakdown fleetBy Tony MeredithTo ensure that it can attend around 3.5 million breakdowns every year, the AA has a fleet of 8,500 vehicles - and a fuel bill of £15m to go with it.It probably came as no surprise to Sarah Dopson, head of group fleet, road operations at the AA, when she was asked to look at the fuel options available and to assess whether the UK's biggest motoring organisation could reduce its fuel bill and help the environment into the bargain.The AA's fleet already uses the TrackM8 telematics system and that has realised 5.9% improvements in mpg, according to Dopson. "So far we have assumed an 8% fuel saving in 2011, as well as reducing engine and tyre wear and tear, reducing accidents and improving duty of care for our busi­ness," she said. "But our biggest saving will be through idling times; if each patrol reduces its idling time by one hour per week we would make a fuel saving of circa £200,000 per annum."Dopson was also tasked with providing a van comparison covering all existing fuel options.She said: "Diesel was unbeatable when it came to range, economy, power and cost. Many of the other alternatives - including electric - posed a range of commercial issues including reduced range, a lack of charging infrastructure and, due to the weight of the batteries, restrictions on payload weights."Despite these issues, Dopson is about to trial two Peugeot E Expert electric vans - based at the AA's Wimbledon depot - which will be used on routine breakdown operations. But the implementation of electric vans has thrown up some other points that need to be addressed.The cost of electric vehicles is an area of concern. "The price I have been quoted for electric vans is currently five times more than I can procure a standard diesel van for," said Dopson. "This means that the base vehicle outweighs any potential savings I would make on fuel."'If each patrol reduces its idling time by one hour per week we would save circa £200,000 per annum'Sarah Dopson, head of group fleet, road operations at the AA