2019 In Review
20 Dec, 2019
Fleet Financial has enjoyed another outstanding year despite political and economic uncertainty within the wider market.
We’ve always taken the positive view that uncertainty provides opportunity for organisations like ourselves to offer clarity, support and guidance.
In addition to our core contract hire and vehicle management business, we’ve seen significant growth with our personal contract brand, Preferences and our Fleet Management product which offers process, administrative and financial control for company owned vehicles.
We’ve also enjoyed another successful year with our used vehicle operation, Fleet Financial Used Approved.
Over the last three years we have been re-positioning the business to reflect the evolving market whilst also focusing on the increasing number of SME’s in the Northern Ireland Economy.
With investment in new products, technology, a growing business development and internal sales team, we've successfully acquired nearly 300 new additional business clients in the last three years. This is something we’re hugely proud of and believe this will continue in the coming years as we further invest in our people and products.
The feedback from client indicates they value the local relationship, expertise and guidance our team can offer.
This was clearly highlighted during the WLTP changes last year and the emerging discussions around hybrid, EV and BIK during this year. Whilst some suppliers in the market have been slow to embrace these changes, we have been working closely with clients to navigate the complexities whist delivering long term solutions.
In July, the Government announced a zero rate of BIK tax for electric vehicles from April 2020-21, rising to 1% in 2021-22 and 2% in 2022-23. It also announced a freeze on 2020-21 BIK rates for the following two years.
This clarity on company car tax was hugely significant for our sector and will provide certainty over the next few years for companies and driver’s, allowing for more effective planning.
The new generation of RDE2 compliant diesels will not attract the usual 4% BIK surcharge, and it’s our belief that diesel still has a role to play along with the other emerging engine technologies.
The last five months of 2019 have seen a significant change in the profile of our order book with some 25% - 30% of our weekly orders now hybrid, PHEV or EV.
As a business this is reflected in our own company vehicles as we’ve moved away from a diesel only policy in recent times. We now have PHEV, diesel, petrol and two EV’s on order for early 2020.
This helps us bring some real-world experience to our customers as they consider the right mix of engines and technology for their drivers.
The challenge for some companies has been the rental cost of PHEV’s and EV’s. We believe the gap between the cost-benefit to the driver through lower BIK and potentially higher rentals to the company will close as more manufacturers bring vehicles to market at the various price points.
Looking back, 2019 has been a successful year as we continue to enjoy a strong business performance.
We’re also very fortunate and grateful to be able to offer some assistance to those organisations that support the wider community:
- Belfast Samaritans
- Marie Curie Northern Ireland
- The Eastside Awards – Celebrating the best in the East Belfast community
- MacMillan Cancer Support
- Greenisland Football Club
- Royal Belfast Academy Hockey
- OutsideIn – A business with purpose aiming to bring those on the outside of society in
- St. Malachy's OB Youth FC
- Instonians P7 Rugby
- Save the Children
As we move into 2020, we’ve a very strong order book and we look forward to the continued development of our colleagues, clients and products.
The entire sales team have recently completed both their annual FCA and the Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF) Expert exams. We’ll continue to invest in this key area along with practical training throughout the year for our colleagues across the business.
We’re quietly confident about the coming twelve months and remain positive about the prospects for 2020 and beyond.
We wish you all a wonderful Christmas, Happy New Year and a successful and peaceful 2020.