Santander fleet takes account of staff preferences

Since launching a company car salary sacrifice scheme for its 30,000 UK staff in October 2011, banking giant Santander has seen take-up accelerate rapidly, says fleet manager Tom Manahan.

The Zenith-run scheme had 226 cars in January and this has now risen to 410, with a further 106 on order. The scheme runs alongside, but is separate from, a conventional company car scheme for high-mileage essential business users.

When it comes to models, Santander offers a range of Volkswagen, Audi, BMW Minis, Vauxhall and Ford models and in February extended the mix to include Kia, Hyundai, Mazda and Volvo.

Manahan says: “The most popular choice is still the Ford Fiesta, which accounts for about 25% of the salary sacrifice orders.”

The scheme has a CO2 cap of 120g per km, which restricts model options. So premium, higher-emitting Jaguar models, for example, are not in the scheme, says Monahan.

“We are constantly discussing with manufacturers ways to widen the scope of the offer as well as working to improve the website. I want an employee to be able to go on the site and say, ‘I want to spend £250 a month: what can I get for that?’.

“We are also looking to add more fi lters so that you can, for example, filter out or in three-door or five-door models or look solely at things such as miles per gallon, which can be an important part of decision-making.

“We can introduce every single sub-120g per km CO2 car, so it doesn’t make that much difference to the procurement process. The key, when it comes to take-up, is really just speaking to employees.

“We hold regular events for staff and a lot is done by word of mouth, but the website is also very important. The quoting tool must be very clear and it also has to be clear what the risk is if an employee leaves the firm and becomes liable for early termination.”