Ed­i­tor's desk

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

I first started work­ing in the fleet mar­ket in 1985 with what was then Hertz Fleetlease – later Fleetlease and now Cus­tom Fleet, ini­tially in sales and then later as Oper­a­tions man­ager run­ning the fleet. 25 years ago in 1993 I started pub­lish­ing Com­pa­nyve­hi­cle mag­a­zine. Over that time some as­pects of the car mar­ket and fleets have changed al­most be­yond imag­i­na­tion whilst oth­ers have changed only min­i­mally. When I started we still had a fully pro­tected and in­ef­fi­cient lo­cal ve­hi­cle assem­bly sec­tor; all cars had large tar­iffs and sales du­ties and in ad­di­tion there was a luxury car tax. This meant after a three year lease a low km car fetched close to the ac­tual pur­chase price as a resid­ual around 70 per­cent of orig­i­nal retail be­fore the fleet got a 10-15 per­cent dis­count and even higher mileage cars got around 60 per­cent of retail. Some smart gov­ern­ment de­part­ments fig­ured out that with the large gov­ern­ment fleet dis­count they could keep a car 12-18 month and sell it for what they paid if not a bit more – great fleet eco­nom­ics al­though not so pleas­ing for the car com­pa­nies! There was no FBT and no GST – life was sim­ple. But the cars were billy ba­sic – A Ford Fair­mont which was sec­ond from top of the range had a bench seat, col­umn auto and even the stereo and air con­di­tion­ing were op­tional ex­tras! Lower spec mod­els had man­ual gear­boxes, rub­ber floor mats and man­ual win­dows – not to men­tion no power steer­ing. It took the ad­vent of Ja­panese used im­ports to drag the man­u­fac­tur­ers kick­ing and scream­ing to well spec­i­fied cars, no doubt aided by com­pany man­agers whose wife’s used im­port had all the fruit in terms of power win­dows and steer­ing, air­con, etc, while his new com­pany car had none! Big Aussie cars ruled the sales charts – large cars were the undis­puted mar­ket lead­ers in the same way medium SUVS are now, with Com­modore and Fal­con fight­ing for the mar­ket ti­tle each year. Pre FBT fleets were large with al­most all man­agers and sales peo­ple get­ting a com­pany car (I had one in a mid man­age­ment job two years out of uni­ver­sity). Utes were sim­ple work ve­hi­cles with a few 2WD Com­modores and Fal­cons get­ting semi recre­ational use and 4WD utes were the pre­serve of coun­cils, farm­ers and forestry com­pa­nies. Most SUVS were fairly agri­cul­tural with the ex­cep­tion of Range Rovers and a few luxury mod­els. Leas­ing was a very new in­dus­try with lit­tle lo­cal un­der­stand­ing and lim­ited op­tions and the fleet man­age­ment in­dus­try didn’t ex­ist. Ma­jor changes fol­lowed the end­ing of lo­cal assem­bly and in­tro­duc­tion of FBT, de­pre­ci­a­tion be­came a real and ma­jor cost and fleets slimmed down as many perk ve­hi­cles were re­placed by ve­hi­cle al­lowances or qui­etly re­tired from the pay strat­egy. Spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els in­creased as did stan­dard safety equip­ment (Which was pretty much lim­ited to seat belts – in the front!) Now all cars have a suite of airbags, ABS and ESC, even some fairly low-level cars now have au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing and ev­ery car has a ba­sic level of ex­tras in­clud­ing power win­dows, mir­rors, steer­ing, good au­dio and air-con­di­tion­ing. Sus­tain­abil­ity, CO2 emis­sions and elec­tric drive are now all se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tions for fleet man­agers whilst leas­ing is main­stream as are ex­ter­nal fleet man­agers. So lots of changes but still a lot of the same is­sues which of­ten in­volve peo­ple – who gets what car – can I have a tow­bar with it or lets fill up the boat as well as the car (elec­tric cars will stop that one I guess!). Happy mo­tor­ing,

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