Standard safety measures in
personal cars do not exist in LCVs.


Concerns about safety and the
environmental impact of light commercial vehicle fleets have been
raised by Arval.

Some LCV fleet users are leasing vehicles for
so long they are potentially causing damage to the environment
through pollutants, a report commissioned by the BNP Paribas
Group-owned leasing company has made clear.

Vincent Rupied, director of corporate relations
at Arval – which commissioned Corporate Vehicle Observatory to
carry out the survey of 3,316 fleet managers across 14 countries –
commented: “We have some extreme cases of Greek SMEs keeping their
vehicles and cars beyond 100 months. Even in Spain we have worrying
concerns about ageing LCVs. The age of the car have lots of impacts
on safety and the environment.”

Larger companies generally keep their leased
cars and LCVs for far less time than smaller companies. For
instance, the report stated, companies with more than 1,000 staff
keep LCVs for an average of 65 months, compared with 78 months for
companies of less than 10 members of staff.

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Customers with LCVs on operating lease
contracts are more likely to use the vehicles on average for less
time than those on self purchase or car credit policies.

According to Rupied, this is largely because
those on operating leases are more aware of the cost impact of
keeping hold of their vehicles for longer.

“Those in contract hire have to know about the
cost effects of keeping their car longer, as it is in their invoice
at the beginning,” said Rupied.

This trend, he added, would exist in spite of
the recent trend of extending contract hire agreements.


Quote from Vincent Rupied, ArvalSerious concerns

The report also put the spotlight on
some key concerns about safety of users of LCVs.

Although 92% of respondents regard airbags for
drivers and passengers as “mandatory”, only 55% regard “driver
separation” as essential.

“This is an area of concern,” said Rupied. “We
have lots of accidents where tools and equipment stored in the rear
of an LCV cause injury to the drivers.”

Similarly, only 66% regarded electronic
stabilisation programmes (ESP) as mandatory in LCVs, even though
they are standard extras in personal cars.

“ESP is a very important factor of reducing
heavy accidents,” said Rupied.

Meanwhile, the report found that smaller
companies tend to use operational vehicles, which include assets of
less than 3.5 tonnes (‘transport vehicles’), and those used for
maintenance, repair of facilities and general services (‘service
vehicles’), far more than larger companies.

Of total vehicle usage by companies with less
than 10 staff, 64% use operational vehicles (against 62% in last
year’s survey), compared with 54% by those between 10 and 99

For companies with more than 1,000 staff, this
figure drops to 35%.

Larger companies, however, make significantly
larger use of ‘incentive vehicles’, those made available to
employees as apart of a company’s compensation scheme.

Just over one-fifth of large company fleets are
comprised of incentive vehicles, compared with just 6% for the
smallest companies and 11% for those with headcounts of between 10
and 99.

Rupied also commented that in countries most
hit by the recession “the [use of] incentive vehicles have

This suggests that “the least operational cars
are the most likely to have been cancelled”, Rupied added.