A majority of fleets are concerned that fleet budgets will be reduced by more than 10% over the next three months, according to findings from Automotive Fleet’s latest industry pulse survey.
Approximately 43% of fleet respondents said that they are concerned fleet budgets will be reduced in the next three months, with another 13% expressing uncertainty on how budgets will look in the next few months. Meanwhile, 36% said that they were unconcerned about budget cuts.
Nearly half (49%) who were concerned about budget cuts guesstimated cuts would be more than 10%. Meanwhile, approximately 37% of respondents expected budget cuts of varying percentages. Another 18% were unsure or said it was too early to tell.
Updated Fleet Policy
Changes to fleet policy were also observed by fleets in the latest pulse survey, with 45% stating that updates were recently made to policy with regards to responding to COVID-19. This was a 20% jump from the previous survey where only 25% said that updates were made.
Many examples were given by fleets regarding notes to policy updates that were made for the latest pulse survey, some of which include: extra sanitization of frequent touch points, only allowing one employee per vehicle, mandatory PPE, social distancing requirements, and more.
Acquisition and Fleet Cost Trends
A majority of respondents (49%) to the survey also expect vehicle acquisition volumes to remain unchanged in the next three months, which is up 9% from data pulled in the previous round of surveys. Those who reported they were acquiring fewer vehicles remained mostly unchanged from the previous month, which was at 26% mostly recently, down by only 1% from the previous survey findings.
A majority of respondents (39%) also noted that TCO has remained the same amid the pandemic. However, 23% said that TCO was lower, and another 13% said it was too early to tell. Meanwhile, 16% reported TCO was higher. Findings for TCO remained consistent with what was reported in the previous pulse survey.
Readiness of fleets for reaching pre-pandemic levels of business activity varied significantly by fleets who participated in the latest round of surveys, most of whom (32%) said they were unsure of when activity would return to norms seen prior to the pandemic.
Following this 14% of fleets said they expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by Q4 2020, while 13% said things would return to normal somewhat after this in Q1 2021. Another 9% expected activity to return to normal in Q2 2021 and 5% said things would normalize by Q3 20201. Meanwhile, 8% expected activity to return to normal sometime in 2022.
Conversely to these fleets, 17% said that business activity had already recovered.
How companies are addressing work-from-home mandates also varied significantly during the latest survey, with most (36%) stating that these mandates had ended or are no longer mandatory. However, on the opposite end, 28% said they were still working from home indefinitely, another 8% expect this to lift by Q4 2020 and another 14% say this may not occur until Q1 2021 or later.
Most fleets expected a phased return to work (33%) when the work-from-home mandates start to lift, though 12% expect activity to remain work-from-home. Following this, 25% expect a full workforce return when these mandates lift and another 4% expect a partial workforce return.
Almost half of fleets involved in the survey say temperature checks are required prior to entering their place of work (47%), another 30% say this will not be mandatory, and another 23% say it’s too early to tell or that they are unsure.
A larger majority of fleets in the survey were declared an essential business by the government (64%), or is at least the case from some of their business units (21%). Another 12% said they were not declared and essential business.