Keeping with tradition, I have collated my thoughts in the form of a review of 2018 and looked at what I think 2019 holds in store for us all.
As I write this, the year has drawn to a close and I’m reflecting on the year from a business perspective. My overriding thoughts revolve around the ongoing support we have received from our customers. PVS continues to grow as a business and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our loyal customers, for this success.
For PVS this has been another year of growth. We now have three divisions within the PVS Group: -
PVS Fleet Solutions - Fleet support, consultancy and procurement
PVS Asset Finance – Finance for all companies, for all assets
PVS Innovation – Electrification and autonomy
It has been a pleasure to witness these businesses develop from inception to providing valuable business advice to customers old and new.
From a fleet perspective, the compliance elements of WLTP have been challenging for the manufacturers and even now some vehicles in the car fleet sector are still not quotable from a leasing company point of view. This is likely to continue until the manufacturers finally achieve resolution. The upshot of the real-world testing is that CO2 emissions ratings have increased and this means an increase in cost for many choosing their new car from a tax perspective.
Drivers will start to question the value of company cars and many companies will be asking themselves what else they can offer. Some of the more advanced Contract Hire companies can provide you with alternatives such as: -
Employee car ownership
Finance lease – Hire Purchase
This year has also seen several manufacturers align and bring out different variations on their product set; SUV Coupe’s, entry level SUV’s etc. (there is a theme here!) Others have continued with tried and tested models such as Ford with the new Focus, and the Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall new alliance with their new small van. These will continue to improve and we will all benefit from new safety features and options within the vehicles. I can remember when Sat Nav was only available to the rich, now it is in most vehicles.
We have also seen continued investment being made in electrification and autonomous driving. We may reach a point soon when vehicles become the same as in the Jetsons cartoons (for those of you that can remember, I am sure there are a few!!).
Looking Forward to 2019!
Dare I mention it, Brexit? Well, we have less than 3 months until the 29th March 2019 as I write this and everyone has an opinion on the likely outcome and its effects on the fleet industry.
The first impact may well be the exchange rate. We have seen several price increases over the last 6 months and I believe this trend will continue as we move into the first half of 2019. Because of the increase in purchase costs, monthly rentals for those that finance will be affected. For those that outright purchase, this will mean a higher purchase cost.
While we are talking about purchasing, vans will go through the same process as cars did in 2018 and undergo real world CO2 testing. This has seen some manufacturers already stating that orders will close in May/June and then reopen in September. This will have a massive impact on availability and we have all experienced this with cars last year - so please consider your renewal plans ahead of the summer.
We will also see further developments in the electrification of vehicles as manufacturers launch advancements in battery technology. This will mean vehicles will be capable of greater distances between charging.
Brexit will inevitably affect fuel pricing and we continue to assist our customers in helping them understand what this will mean for their businesses. We can also help mitigate the effects of fluctuations in pricing, creating a more stable cost structure in turbulent economic times. Supporting our customers in this manner is the ethos of PVS. If you have any comments or are worried about any of these issues then do not hesitate to get in touch – we are here to help.
Low Emission Zones will become more and more prominent throughout the next couple of years and considering what you buy today will help you mitigate any future costs that these zones will incur. If you use London as your benchmark, you will not go far wrong. Those operating a commercial fleet in these zones should be thinking Euro 6 at all times – that way you will not go far wrong.
As we all get better at understanding the fleet world, and with greater communication tools on hand, we can help our drivers by providing clear communications. This type of support will aid our drivers understanding of what they are responsible for and how they can help support their respective companies drive down costs. This is all about how we communicate with our drivers and how we can educate. Keep an eye out on “PVS Talks”.
All in all, I think 2019 will be eventful; there will be considerable change within the fleet industry leading to changes in our lives both professionally as well as personally. I believe we need to maintain focus but enjoy the journey, learn and grow as we go. This will then lead to a successful year and make you stronger for 2020.
It seems strange talking about 2020 when I clearly remember the hype surrounding the dawning of the new millennium. It is hard to believe – where did the time go? I am already looking forward to my 2019 review and it will be here in the ‘blink of an eye’ – make no mistake!