Innovation, responsiveness and resilience will continue to drive the fleet sector

BVRLA's Gerry Keaney writes for the 2018 Fleet News FN50 magazine

BVRLA membership has continued to grow throughout 2018 with an increasing number of small and medium-sized businesses joining the association from across all core business areas including vehicle rental, leasing and those who supply to, or have an interest in the industry.

With just over 950 organisations in membership, BVRLA members are collectively responsible for almost 5 million vehicles on UK roads, buying almost half of all new vehicles sold in the UK each year and purchasing 83% of all UK-manufactured vehicles sold to a domestic market.

What is becoming apparent is that BVRLA members are expanding their business activities, shifting towards delivering mobility solutions rather than a single core business offering. We are seeing rental operators also providing leasing deals, leasing companies also operating in the second-hand car sales market, and so on… The lines are blurring as our members are increasingly adapting their business models within the confines of technological developments and regulatory requirements to best meet customer needs.

The influence of BVRLA members must not be underestimated, as collectively they can drive behaviour change quickly when it comes to encouraging individuals and businesses to think differently about using alternative cleaner transport solutions.

This collective strength is what gives the BVRLA and its members a louder voice of influence when it comes to lobbying and influencing policymakers and the association is further strengthening its representation by expanding its membership criteria to include Fleet Operators as of January 2019. 

The ABC of change in 2019

There are several key drivers of change that will have a significant impact upon the fleet sector in the year ahead:

Air quality - Regulatory restrictions around air quality will provide an opportunity for BVRLA members to market their sustainability credentials to individuals and businesses looking for cleaner transport solutions to help minimise costs when entering towns and cities implementing Clean Air Zones.

The BVRLA and its members will work closely with national and regional policymakers as well other industry bodies to mitigate the risk of future air quality plans compromising business growth. There will be a particular focus on the needs of commercial vehicle operators who are relied upon to deliver goods to UK towns and cities and face the greatest challenge in upgrading to the latest diesel or ultra-low emission vehicles.

Brexit – The uncertainty surrounding EU-Exit continues, despite government issuing a series of official ‘Technical Notices’ to advise businesses on what they need to know in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The prospect of being impacted by import tariffs on new vehicles tariffs and restrictions around employing EU staff will all be of concern to members, indeed these are issues affecting every UK organisation. The myriad of other regulatory issues around type-approval, emissions standards, data protection and driving overseas will all have an impact upon our industry but regardless of EU-negotiation outcome, the fleet industry will lead the way in responding with strength and resilience.

Changing business models – The fleet sector has always been responsive to change and customer-focussed. This combination of being motivated to meet customer needs and being nimble enough to react to technological and environmental change is driving BVRLA members to explore new business models. We are seeing a shift towards providing a broader range of integrated mobility services rather than delivering just one rental, leasing or fleet management product.  

The BVRLA will continue to support members through what could possibly become an A-to-Z of change during 2019. By expanding our membership categories and being a louder voice of influence in the corridors of power, the BVRLA and its members remain committed to delivering future mobility solutions, driving industry growth and promoting the reputation of the industry.

Author

Gerry Keaney

Chief Executive, BVRLA

Gerry joined the BVRLA in May 2013.