The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) has launched its first dealer accreditation scheme, which, it hopes, will set an industry-wide benchmark for delivering increasingly technology-rich company cars and vans.
Co-developed with input from Marshall Motor Group, which sells 21 brands from Audi to Volvo, the AFP Dealer Standard is a voluntary scheme designed to ensure a more consistent delivery experience for drivers, which can be measured, assessed and form the basis of fleet operator and leasing company service level agreements (SLAs).
Accreditation covers 28 points across four categories, comprising pre-delivery communications and support, the condition of the vehicle, requirements for staff conduct and a thorough handover process. It’s aimed at bringing the experience in line with retail customers', even if the order itself is placed through a leasing company.
The AFP said it is particularly concerned that new technologies – such as safety assistance, electric vehicle charging and even pairing a phone – are not being adequately explained to company car and van drivers. This potentially creates a duty of care issue and can lead to operators losing time resolving queries after vehicles have been delivered.
Dealers who sign up will be marked out by a logo, given access the association’s full suite of webinars, conferences and training to help build knowledge of the fleet sector, and listed on a directory provided to members. The AFP will monitor standards annually and has introduced a process enabling drivers and fleet managers to escalate any issues they face.
In addition to Marshall Motor Group, which delivers 20,000 vehicles to fleet drivers each year, Inchcape and Sytner are the first motor retailers to be accredited under the scheme – which also applies to any third-party delivery companies they use. The AFP added that several leasing companies have already shown an interest in adopting it as part of their SLAs.
AFP director James Pestell said: “We recognise that there are many corporate dealers that are doing a fantastic job. Signing up to the dealer standards gives them recognition that they are doing this, and that they are upholding the standards that we've set up.
“But what we also want to do is call out dealers who are tempted to cut corners with the delivery and handover process, and perhaps care more about the numbers of registrations in a given month than the end-user fleet driver. We want drivers to have a positive and informative experience upon delivery, and handover, and it's vital that this happens on fleet deliveries.”