Flexibility will be a funding priority for fleets in 2021

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The need to replace vehicles in a cost-effective way has become ever-more important as economic uncertainty looms and fleets face a new mandate from the Government to decarbonise.

An increasing number of vehicle providers are offering new types of contracts that give businesses more wiggle room within their agreements and fleets are increasingly taking advantage of multiple funding methods rather than just using one.

To read our feature on fleet funding in 2021, click here to view the latest digital edition of Fleet News and Commercial Fleet.

Paul Wright, sales director at commercial vehicle finance provider Asset Alliance Group, says: “We have seen operators continuing to seek stability within their working fleet, fixing costs where they can.

“Although contract hire remains a desirable choice for core fleets, current erratic volume changes mean businesses are also looking towards more flexible means to top-up and support their fleets, especially those working through several Covid-related lockdown restrictions.”

Parcel delivery firm Tuffnells has employed a mix of fleet funding methods, including ownership, leasing and rental. This ensures greater flexibility and has enabled the business to adjust capacity to accommodate significant business growth both during and post-lockdown.

The company has taken 21 new 7.5-tonne trucks on a six-year contract hire agreement, extending the existing 170 HGVs and 20 delivery vans it has from Enterprise on a flexible rental programme.

Simon Parsons, services director at Tuffnells, says: “Combining rental and ownership with contract hire means our fleet is ready to face any challenge. It means we can rapidly scale up or down as demand changes. It’s easier to handle maintenance and we get fast access to replacement vehicles at a moment’s notice.

“The surge in demand caused by the lockdown is just one example of how important flexibility is to a business where being responsive to customer needs is the number one priority. Providing our drivers with new vehicles is very important to us. It demonstrates the commitment we have to them and provides the right equipment to safely deliver for our customers.”

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