UK employees getting wider choice over company cars

UK
companies are offering employees increasing choice in the make and model of the
company car they drive.

According
to Watson Wyatt’s UK Compensation Report 2003, only 10 per cent of sales executives
and 11 per cent of field service engineers now have no choice over make and
model of the company car they drive, compared with 16 per cent and 18 per cent
respectively in its 2002 report.

The
report shows that 36 per cent of sales executives have a free choice of car up to
a maximum cost, while 55 per cent may choose from a range of makes and models designated
by their employer.

For
field service engineers, the equivalent figures are 32 per cent and 57 per
cent. There is even more choice for those outside of customer-facing roles.
Forty-five per cent of senior managers have a free reign and 5 per cent have no
choice. For non-sales middle managers, 43 per cent have a free choice while 7
per cent have no choice.

"The
trend is clearly towards more choice. As the range of cars available, in terms
of body styles, equipment and engine types, has expanded in recent years,
employers have allowed their company car drivers more freedom of choice over
the vehicle most suitable for their individual needs," said Elaine
Devonshire, a consultant at Watson Wyatt.

"And
the choice is not just over what car employees drive but also in whether they
can take a cash allowance instead to purchase or hire a car independently of
their employer."

For
example, of those companies providing a company car or car allowance to sales
executives, only 49 per cent offer a company car only with no choice to take
cash as an alternative, compared with 56 per cent in last year’s report. In
non-sales roles, cash alternatives are now even more prevalent, with only 23
per cent of middle managers obliged to take a company car. Instead, 11 per cent
of middle managers are provided with a cash allowance in replacement of a
company car and 66 per cent are given the choice of a car or a cash allowance.

The
average maximum cost, including VAT, for a company car for sales executives
with a free choice is £17,727, rising to £24,796 for top sales personnel and
£29,771 for general managers.

www.watsonwyatt.com

By Quentin Reade

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