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What is a vehicle fleet?

A vehicle fleet includes any vehicles that are used for work purposes, including privately owned cars which are called the grey fleet.

A vehicle fleet is comprised of fleet vehicles and can include:

  • Cars, SUVs and utility vehicles
  • Motorbikes
  • Heavy vehicles (trucks, buses, coaches)
  • Specialist vehicles (forklift trucks, graders, loaders, tracked vehicles, etc)
  • Farm vehicles (all-terrain vehicles, tractors, combine harvesters, etc)
  • Trailers
  • Towable plant such as generators and woodchippers
  • Aircraft
  • Boats

Bicycles are not typically treated as fleet vehicles.

Arguably the most famous fleet vehicles are London’s red buses or black taxis.

Pool vehicles

Pool vehicles are vehicles available to be booked by authorised staff and don’t belong to any one particular driver. The advantages are that:

  • the company doesn’t have to provide a dedicated vehicle for staff that don’t have a regular need for a vehicle, but do tend to take trips to meetings with other staff members
  • vehicles can be kept on-site and available, which is especially useful if the company is in an area where getting a taxi can take a while
  • vehicles can be branded with the company logo (see below)
  • no fringe benefit tax has to be paid.

Usually, pool cars are not allowed to be taken home by staff.

Maintenance and management of fleet vehicles

Fleet vehicles are managed using fleet management software. At the basic level, this is a database of vehicle and driver details, and at an advanced level the software tracks driver activity, vehicle maintenance and more, sometimes in conjunction with a telematics system.

Fleet vehicles must be maintained to a schedule to ensure that they are safe for use by staff. The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 states that a vehicle is a place of work, and therefore risks must be mitigated. That means that vehicles must always be insured and roadworthy; having a warrant doesn’t mean that the vehicle is roadworthy, it just means that it was inspected and was roadworthy at the time.

For companies with large numbers of vehicles, keeping on top of registration, WoF, maintenance and servicing can be a full time job for a transport or fleet manager. On top of the vehicles, drivers must also be managed to ensure they have a current licence (this can be done using NZTA’s Driver Check).

Purchasing or leasing a fleet vehicle

Vehicles for fleets can be acquired in a number of ways:

  • Privately
  • Via dealers that have fleet specialists (either on finance or directly)
  • Via fleet leasing and fleet management companies

Fleet leasing companies will have a wide number of vehicle options and can frequently get good deals by purchasing in bulk for many companies. They can also provide additional services to manage the vehicles if that’s not possible in-house.

Livery and signwriting

Many vehicles are signwritten to identify them for company branding purposes. This also has the effect of encouraging drivers to drive more sensibly as they are less anonymous behind the wheel. However, some companies don’t like having signwritten vehicles, precisely to remain anonymous.

These circus trucks in Germany have very basic signwriting on them, but some vehicles can have a full wrap applied.

driver training

Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

Posted in Advice, Fleet
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