Pfizer is cutting company car choice across Europe after successfully implementing the policy in the UK.
The move goes against a current trend for organisations to offer staff a greater choice of company car. Pfizer introduced measures last year to align its fleet and cut back on costs, which effectively reduced the choice of cars for its 1,600 business drivers to just a couple of models. Drivers are now supplied with top-of-the-range Volkswagen and Audi cars.
Lynne Bundle, fleet manager for Pfizer UK, said: "All our competitors are doing employee car ownership schemes [with] free choice, and more open choice. We’ve bitten the bullet and gone the other way. Where [staff] used to have quite a choice, they’ve now got a choice of one or two models and that’s the maximum per grade. We’re trying to have a [consistent] European policy. That’s the goal."
Pfizer has been paring back the range of cars on offer gradually, moving firstly from seven to three manufacturers before adopting a deal to supply only Audi and Volkswagen cars. Drivers are no longer able to select BMW and Renault models.
Bundle said the policy has drawn few complaints from drivers. "I was expecting some push back from the drivers. When we went from a seven [manufacturer list] to three, my phone was like a hotline but I haven’t had that this time. Maybe we managed it better. They are also pretty high-spec cars."
Pfizer employs 2,200 business drivers in the UK, with senior managers entitled to a cash alternative. It is now reviewing fuel funding. "We’re looking at supermarket-only forecourt purchasing or fuel card use, and also tools to manage mileage," Bundle said.