Company car and van fleets are markedly more optimistic about growth than before the pandemic, according to new research in the 2021 Arval Mobility Observatory Barometer.
When asked whether they expected the number of vehicles they operate to increase or decrease in the next three years, the response was eight percentage points higher than 2020’s survey.
However, larger fleets appear to be much more positive about their prospects. Among companies with more than 500 employees, more than half (59%) are expecting fleet growth, compared to almost a third (+32%) among small and medium sized enterprises with 10-99 staff.
The top three reasons for the envisaged increase in fleet size are led by company growth or development of a new activity that requires vehicles (67%), provision of a safe commute for employees due to COVID-19 (34%) and companies planning to offer vehicles to employees who are not currently eligible (32%).
Conversely, in the top three reasons cited for a decrease in fleet size, 49% of respondents believe it will be due to the impact of COVID-19, followed by 38% who say it’s becase of plans to increase home office working and then 23% think it’s because drivers will choose a cash allowance.
Shaun Sadlier, Head of Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said: “Despite the pandemic, this year’s Arval Mobility Observatory research indicates that fleets are more optimistic about growth now than before the pandemic hit. After the events of the last year, this is welcome and points to a high degree of resilience in the marketplace in which fleets operate.
“This positivity is much more noticeable among larger fleets than smaller ones. A potential explanation for this disparity is that bigger organisations have strategically identified the likelihood of fleet growth in a world where low taxation on EVs is set to increase company car uptake, as well as converting cash allowance takers to salary sacrifice schemes. SMEs have perhaps not yet had the time to devote to these areas and may well be focussed on overcoming the effects of the pandemic.