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Operating a fleet in a post-brexit UK: What are the implications?

The end of 2020 finally saw a trade deal with the EU being agreed, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson estimates is worth around £660 billion.

Described as a ‘comprehensive Canada-style free trade deal’ it will allow UK goods and components to be sold without tariffs and without quotas in the EU market.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said, “It was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it. It is fair, it is a balanced deal, and it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides.”

Understandably, the fleet and automotive sector breathed a common sigh of relief. However, now the UK is no longer part of the European Union single market and customs union there will, of course, be new challenges facing fleet managers.

According to James Parnell, purchasing director at Grosvenor Leasing, companies operating vehicle fleets should feel reassured that prices will not suffer the immediate hike that would have happened without a deal.

Nevertheless, he says that Grosvenor will continue to work very closely with the European car manufacturers as the full impact of Brexit materialises.

“We’re naturally delighted that a trade deal was reached, albeit at the eleventh hour,” said James, “however there will be extra paperwork for goods shipped across the UK-EU border. 

“The difficulty we now have is knowing what the longer-term implications of Brexit might be.

“To further complicate this, it’s very hard to distinguish between the impact of Brexit and the impact of the pandemic as they are both having an effect and the lines can get blurred.

“Only time will tell if the UK supply of vehicles and parts will alter in terms of volume and lead times and whether pricing will ultimately change. If this is the case, we may never know if it’s down to Brexit or Covid.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) had estimated a no-deal Brexit could have cost the car industry £55 billion in five years and add an average of £2000 to the price of a car in the UK.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) also welcomed the deal, which it described as “a great relief” for manufacturers that avoided “the catastrophic effect of a no-deal Brexit”.

“There’s no disputing what very good news this is for companies operating vehicle fleets,” continued James. “All we’re saying is not to relax too quickly.

“Also, whilst there haven’t been any really significant changes when travelling aboard, we would urge fleet managers to look at the rules for drivers taking company vehicles into the EU.

“Leased vehicles will still require a Vehicle on Hire Certificate (VE103B) and letter of authority to take the vehicle out of the UK.

“UK drivers won’t need an International Driving Permit to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein but will need a green card and a GB sticker. 

“Drivers towing a trailer or caravan will also need multiple green cards as you need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer or caravan. You also need separate trailer insurance in some countries.

“You must also carry a physical copy of your green card, although you can now print green cards yourself which makes life easier. Just be mindful that electronic versions of green cards are not allowed and its advisable to contact your vehicle insurance provider at least 6 weeks before you travel as you may need to show them at police checks and borders, so it’s important you do not travel without it.”

If you have any questions regarding the impact of Brexit on your company vehicles and drivers, please contact one of our friendly team on 01536 536 536.

Call us today on 01536 536 590

Call us today on 01536 536 590

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