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Van Safe Accreditation Scheme launch: safe, efficient, sustainable logistic

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 16, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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The Van Safe accreditation scheme was launched last January 31st at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin. This new programme aims at setting up a real code of excellence targeting LCVs in Ireland, in an attempt to set the standard for what is probably the most diffused vehicle type on Irish roads in the logistics sector.

How is the Van Safe Accreditation Scheme going to work?

The Van Safe programme codifies the best standards of practice recommended to ensure the safe operation of van fleets, regardless of size or industry sector. The programme has a continuous audit process: those who sign up for it accept to undertake an audit within 90 days of their admittance to the scheme. Such an audit would be in compliance with the Van Safe Code. If after the 90 days there is a failure to reach the standards of compliance, the signatories would receive feedback and redo a chargeable audit after 90 days, with the possibility of undertaking another one after 90 days more. After this final step (or before if no further audits are needed), the signatories would be probationary members. Probationary members would then only be audited on an annual basis.

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From left to right: Andrew Lyle, Operations Director at Medicall, John Harrington, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Transpoco, Jonathan Hehir, MD at Insuremyvan.ie, Deirdre Sinnott McFeat, Senior Inspector at the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland, Aidan Flynn, GM at FTA Ireland, Seona Farrell, Enprova, Paul Dunn, Head of Partnerships and Marketing at Merrion Fleet, John Forde, Inspector, Road Safety Authority. Image © Fleet Transport - fleet.ie.

 

What specifically is included in the Van Safe Accreditation Scheme that makes up the audit?

These are the complete sections of the Van Safe code:

  1. Vehicle and equipment maintenance
    1. Pre-use defect checks
    2. Maintenance cycles
  2. Safe working environment
    1. Risk analysis
    2. Loading requirements
    3. Driver and passenger protection
    4. Carriage of external loads
    5. Speed limiting
    6. Towing vehicles
  3. Vehicle standards
    1. Vehicle appearance
    2. Vehicle taxation
    3. Vehicle insurance
    4. Annual testing
  4. Vehicle administration
  5. Driver licensing and competence
    1. Licence validity
    2. Fitness to drive
    3. Driver induction
    4. Driver audit
    5. Driver training
  6. Driver behaviour
    1. Drivers’hours and working time
    2. Speed limits
    3. Loading
    4. Mobile equipment and devices
    5. Towing
    6. Other role specific legislation
    7. Driver identification
    8. Incident monitoring, investigation and action
  7. Sustainable operations

 

Applying for the accreditation scheme would benefit companies in their development as well as helping them to standardise best practice policies and gain savings through compliance, lowered fuel consumption, reductions in insurance claims and global costs.

“Daily vehicle checks and preventative maintenance programmes that are undertaken bring with it their own benefits,” says Aidan Flynn, general manager at FTA Ireland.

With the common aim of supporting Van Safe accreditation from differing perspectives, presentations during the event covered different but relative topics, and were made by John Harrington (Transpoco), Deirdre Sinnott McFeat (Health & Safety Authority), John Forde (Road Safety Authority), Paul Dunn (Merrion Fleet), Jonathan Hehir (Insure My Van), and Shauna Farrell (Enprova).

The event also hosted Andrew Lyle, Operations Director at Medicall, the private ambulance service who became the FTAI’s first Van Safe accredited operator. “The good news, we were able to share with our customers, while morale within the management and staff was at an all-time high and enabled us to become more focused,” he said.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

Valentine’s Day: who are making sure your flowers or presents arrive on time?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 14, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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If you are one of those who like celebrating Valentine’s Day with your significant other, then no doubt you will have spent some time looking for suitable presents to celebrate today’s event. If you work as a fleet manager or in the florist business it might very well be you have also been thinking a lot about Valentine’s Day but not necessarily for romantic reasons. Have you found your soulmate, or not? Either way, Valentine’s Day is surely worrying you at least for one reason: having your deliveries reach their destination on time.

February is one of the busiest months for florists and suppliers precisely because of Valentine’s Day. However, the traditional florist shop is no longer the only option for those who send flowers to their Valentine: today you can buy flowers online and get them delivered in a very easy way. This variety of options has probably contributed to the significant increase in business that florists experience at this time of year. And anyone responsible for either the supply or delivery of flowers should be prepared for that, as road transportation is relied on to deliver products quickly and with efficiency, whatever part of the supply chain it may be. Don’t just consider deliveries, but also the shipping of flowers from suppliers: they cannot be too late or too early, as flowers may not arrive in the best conditions to stay long in a shop and deteriorate in storage.

Flowers are perishable, hence the need for them to be transported efficiently. Roses, especially, probably seen as the flower of choice for Valentine’s Day, experience a significant increase in price during this period; so how can flowers be transported efficiently, kept in good condition and expenses minimised in order to offer a competitive price for this product?

With the right fleet management software, those involved in the Valentine’s Day madness (as well as any other supplier or company relying on vehicles) will be able to deliver flowers and products with superior efficiency and in a fast, reliable way. Deliveries on time are, today, the key to staying competitive; and if you can save money on fleet and fuel costs, you can gain the critical advantage over your competitors by offering products at a lower price.

Options for vehicle location and sending closest driver are also helping you optimise operations in case there is any unexpected event.

Today is Valentine’s Day—if you are a fleet manager, we hope you have been able to celebrate not only with a fine meal (if this is your thing) but also toast your success. If you feel you are having problems with the management of vehicles and deliveries, don’t wait until next Valentine’s Day to call us! SynX can help your fleet optimise operations throughout the whole year; see how this particular delivery company has been able to empower their operations thanks to our software...

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

How to keep employees safe at work: 4 steps fleets need to take

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 9, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Even with only one employee on the road, if your business is dependent on vehicles and driving you need to make sure that employees work in a safe place: you have a precise duty of care as well as legal obligations; it makes no difference whether your company owns vehicles or if you employ the services of a grey fleet.

But what are some of the steps to be taken if you want to guarantee a safe place to work for your team? Let’s have a look at four actions you need to consider in order to meet safety standards at work for your employees.

 

1. Check the driving licences of your drivers on a regular basis.

The abolition of the paper counterpart has made it more difficult for companies to check the penalty points on the certifications of drivers. If you have an internal process for this, coupled with some documents to be filled out, you will not lose track of your drivers’ legal status and can even insert this particular procedure into your recruiting process or as part of your annual feedback.

 

2. Make sure everything you need is safely recorded.

Driving licence data, vehicle checks data and everything you need for compliance and safety purposes has to be securely recorded. This means if you are still using manual methods or spreadsheets, maybe it is the time to look into a new solution that is able to record material more securely; leaving your staff available for higher value tasks.

 

3. Keep checks and assessments frequent.

Conducting checks without a precise schedule, i.e. only when you remember to do them, or even according to a very infrequent schedule, renders them useless. Make sure you operate to a precise calendar schedule regarding checks and that they are frequent enough to guarantee safety and compliance as well as innovation and issue detection.

 

4. Make sure you have a fleet policy.

Make sure the processes you have are well documented and drafted into a document like a fleet policy, which establishes duties and rights of employees and employers; this helps to clarify specific points and increases the communication and dialogue between both parties.

 

 

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Topics: employees, fleet policy, safety at work, Safety

How to do a van conversion: 4 tips to get started

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Fleets are increasingly exploring the possibility of van conversions as the number of vans on Irish and UK roads continues to increase. New commercial vehicle registrations totalled around 1.48 million in the UK, while in Ireland 18.3% more LCVs have been registered in 2016 compared with the previous year.


With the number of vans become increasingly higher on our roads, the demand for van conversions has also grown. Van conversions requested by businesses that would like to customise vehicles according to the specific needs of their companies are on the rise. This is something that could help in the job being carried out more safely and quickly, as the material workers need to transport on the van can be accessed more easily and are less mobile in transit. On the other hand, though, it is absolutely necessary to carefully check the finished customisation, the new weight and any other thing that could not only impact driving, but also safety, vehicle class and tax—if the conversion is quite dramatic, there might also be additional charges for you.

So, what is best to keep in mind if you have vans and want them to go through a conversion?


1. Safety and compliance always come first

Fleets have specific scopes and might need special racking according to what they do, but perhaps it isn't possible to have the van customised exactly as you want due to compliance needs or for safety reasons. It is fundamental to always keep this in mind.


2. Do not do it yourself

Some fleets are probably looking into using some of their workforce to do the van conversion. If you do not have a highly specialised workforce at your disposal, this can be quite risky as your team might not be aware of the specifics needed to meet safety and compliance standards, as well as absorbing a lot of their time which could otherwise be employed in more productive tasks.


3. Choose a specialist

Real specialists are experienced with van conversions; it is a great idea to go through your objectives with them. Ideally such specialists would listen to the needs of your fleet and business and explain the possible options available that don’t sacrifice safety and compliance.


4. Van certifications a plus

If you need to choose a van conversion specialist, make sure they have professional memberships: the Van Excellence FTA scheme for the UK or the Van Safe Program for Ireland would offer an extra guarantee that your van conversion specialist is equipped for the task.


Have you ever experienced a van conversion? How did you decide to go through with the process? What kind of issues did you experience and would you offer any advice? Let us know in the comment fields below!

 

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Topics: van, Safety, fleet

A 1% reduction in fuel consumption would save Bus Éireann €350,000 per year

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 2, 2017 9:00:00 AM

A 1% reduction in fuel consumption would save Bus Éireann €350,000 per year-1.jpg

The financial crisis of the Irish bus company Bus Éireann, the company serving destinations in Ireland outside Dublin, has come to a public transport debate.


Bus Éireann is in a financial crisis that needs to be solved urgently, as the company could go out of business by the end of the year as it could become insolvent within the next 18 months. The risks of insolvency of Bus Éireann could potentially create a dramatic situation that might involve not only the loss of around 2600 jobs, but also what has been called a “travel chaos” since a high percentage of taxpayers are relying on Bus Éireann services, hence the issue is crucial.


The National Bus and Rail Union has urged in the last days an intervention of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, who committed to sit with all the stakeholders and debate the future of Bus Éireann.


Bus Éireann CEO Ray Hernan has confirmed the current situation of the company needs to be tackled urgently as the company could even go into insolvency this year, if there is no drastic measure for reducing costs. Losses for Bus Éireann for the year 2016 were just few weeks ago estimated for €6m, but have now reached the more worrying, reliable figure of €9m.


Hernan also underlined in such a scenario he would protect connectivity for passengers and that quoted fuel efficiency and maintenance to be looked at in order to cut expenses and optimise efficiency.


Particularly, he noted that 270 buses some years ago had telematics installed, but this had never been switched on and that this type of fuel efficiency equipment would help, as even a 1% reduction in fuel consumption would save the company €350,000 a year. Bus fleet maintenance is also mostly carried out during the day, when vehicles should be out delivering services.

 

Photo Credit: © Bus Éireann, RTÉ

 

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Topics: Fuel, News, Stats & Facts

Fleet management: DIY, in-house or outsource?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 31, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Fleet management is integral to some industries, and not necessarily in a transport or logistics capacity; it can easily be utilised wherever a vehicle is needed to perform tasks or to provide a service, whether that be for a private company or public organisation.

Depending on the type of company (public or private, for example), the size of the fleet (one vehicle, 10 vehicles, or a substantial fleet of hundreds or even thousands of vehicles); the tasks to be carried out or the type of vehicles and the scope of them, your choices of fleet management come down to either doing it yourself, having an internal fleet management department or outsourcing it.

But what are the pros and cons of each choice? There is no best or worst way; it’s more a case of finding the method most suited to your fleet’s needs:

 

1. The DIY approach—this may not appear very common, but the reality is that most small-middle companies don’t actually employ a fleet manager per se. This does not mean there is only one person in the global workforce which is the owner, but rather that the owner is also the fleet manager; maybe not claiming the title of fleet manager for himself, but clearly having to fulfil the job description. What happens in these cases is that where resources are limited for the smaller business operation, which might mean no fleet manager, there is still technology available to help. One of the biggest issues for the boss/fleet manager is, indeed, tracking the data on fleet operations and their costs without having to invest all of their time creating spreadsheets in order to interpret the data to inform decision-making. Due to the lack of fleet performance metrics, some DIY fleet managers find themselves forced to delay decisions such as, for example, asset replacement, because they do not have visibility on the performance of them.

 

2. The in-house approach—having an internal department headed by a fleet manager can also be a good choice depending on the size and scope of your company. This will allow company owners to be sure there is no outside interest conflicting with the business. And, given time, fleet managers will become extremely familiar with the company; identifying gaps within your organisation and dealing with drivers and other employees. Operating within the company means the in-house fleet manager can better or more quickly understand if some fleet actions or policies will have an impact on your customers, or on other aspects of your business, than an outsider.

 

3. Outsourcing—despite the undeniable advantages of having somebody inside your company, outsourcing is still an excellent option in some scenarios. Outsourcing fleet management might mean your company can dedicate more time to high-value tasks as well as benefitting from the help of objective experts who are not only dedicated to a single role, but remain uninfluenced by internal factors. For some companies, the reason for choosing outsourcing is to forget about compliance: proving that you have established compliance, whether verbally or through contract, as well as risk reduction paperwork, is enough of a workload to seriously consider the outsourcing option.

 

Sometimes, while outsourcing could be recommended in cases where you have excessive costs that might be caused from mismanagement, or you have a demanding workload that is keeping you from progressing or even completing daily tasks, the old adage applies: in medio stat virtus. A combination of methods may actually be the best option. SynX is suited to any of these three approaches, as it can guarantee full communication between internal and external resources. Full visibility and communication is achieved through our software.

What are your personal experiences with outsourcing, internal and DIY fleet management? What do you consider to be the best option for each type of business?

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, manager

Fuel theft detection systems: how is fuel actually being stolen?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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You might have never discussed fuel theft detection systems because you trust your employees, but are you sure there is no temptation in your company to commit it, or could it be this is a risk you are unaware of?

If your fleet is experiencing a high global fuel consumption, it could be due to one or a number of issues: vehicles used might need maintenance, drivers might not be practicing eco-driving or safe driving and, yes, even if you do not suspect it, drivers could be stealing fuel. If the fuel consumption of a particular vehicle is getting significantly worse, it is a sign that there is something wrong; something that needs to be investigated.

So, if now you see it as a problem, before you start looking into fuel theft detection systems do you actually know how fuel can be stolen?

If you are aware of the following fuel theft methods, chances are that you might look for a solution which helps you detect this fraud and eliminate it. Here are four methods of fuel theft that might affect fleets:


1. Declaring incorrect fuel consumption

This method can be typical of companies who use manual logbooks to keep track of fuel purchases and consumption, or have an overestimated consumption rate that can make it even easier for staff to steal fuel. In this instance, fuel can be filled into other cars; drivers might easily take advantage of the overestimation or the approximate method of consumption and purchases recording.


2. Fuel pumped out of the tank

Probably the one that first springs to mind: not exactly like the old fashion syphoning, but fuel can actually be pumped out of the tank, with the additional problem of damaging multiple fleet vehicles if staff also break the fuel feeding system in order to extract it.


3. Odometer tampering

Staff could also reduce mileage readings with the use of external devices such as a large magnet placed close enough to the odometer to stop it while the vehicle is in operation (the vehicle can then be used privately), or even with the use of impulse generator devices that add more kilometres/miles: it will then become necessary to give the consent for an additional fuel purchase—an unneeded one—that probably won’t finish in the right vehicle…


4. Fuel not totally filled to the tank

In these cases, a big part of the fuel purchase is pumped into the vehicle tank, while the rest is pumped into a container or into another vehicle. It might seem relatively easy to spot, but if this is done in small amounts you might not realise it.


All of these methods can be easily discovered if you have the right tools at your disposal. But if you are still using manual methods to track your fuel consumption or rely on fuel bills to track fuel usage, chances are you will end up paying a lot of money but do not really know where fuel goes.

Synx Perform by Transpoco has an integrated fuel management module that can show purchases in real time as well as issues that might be connected to them. You can also count on driving monitoring alerts to see if your team is driving efficiently, on a maintenance module to make sure vehicles are kept roadworthy, and you can establish fuel consumption targets for your fleet.

If you are afraid of fuel theft, there is an obvious solution—get in touch with us and we will show you how it can also improve your fleet operations and save on global costs.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel, theft

New van excellence scheme in Ireland: Transpoco supports FTAI and VanSafe

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 24, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Promoting compliance and working with the highest safety and operational standards should be a priority for all fleets, in an attempt to have safer roads, more responsible drivers and a better environment for all. The power of technology in the telematics products offered by Transpoco as well as the long-time expertise of FTAI have aimed through the years at creating an efficient and sustainable freight and logistics industry. Today, FTAI with the support of Transpoco, the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland and other operators such as Merrion Fleet, Enprova and insuremyvan.ie launches a new van excellence scheme called VanSafe.


VanSafe is the new name for compliant light commercial goods fleet operators. VanSafe is a programme which has the scope of raising operational and safety standards for light commercial vehicles operators by requiring them to pass an audit. The audit has to be performed as soon as practical, within the limit of 90 days starting when joining the scheme, and will cover the following areas:


  1. Vehicle and equipment maintenance
  2. Maintenance cycles
  3. Vehicle standards
  4. Vehicle administration
  5. Driver licensing and competence
  6. Driver behaviour
  7. Sustainable operations

Vans - light commercial vehicles - represent around the 90% of the total commercial fleets on Irish roads, hence the importance of this new programme to benefit fleet operators and the other road users.


FTA Ireland are going to launch VanSafe, on 31st January 2017 from 4.30pm - 6pm, Citywest Hotel, Saggart Co Dublin. The event will have contributions from Transpoco, the Health and Safety Authority, insuremyvan.ie, Merrion Fleet Management and ENPROVA.


For any additional information about FTA you can check FTAI website or email info@ftai.ie if you want to book your place at the event, specifying “VanSafe” in your subject line.


Hope to see you there!

 

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Topics: telematics, van, News, Stats & Facts

Health and safety of drivers at work: 3 recent offences for firms and staff

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Three recent cases of legal offences in the UK involving the health and safety of drivers at work tragically highlighted the severe risk not only to staff but to other road users as well. Over recent weeks, in December and in January, these cases showed just how much more work is needed to properly sensitise operators to the importance of safety and legal compliance.

The first case of negligence was made public in December: the director of a haulage firm, with operations in Shrewsbury and Coalville, was disqualified from the industry for two years after a regulator found that he encouraged drivers to commit offences. The company owner of Steve’s Transport Ltd was personally involved in the breaches committed by his drivers by directly encouraging them to break the rules; he even removed a tachograph card in order to complete a delivery on time. The company’s drivers revealed their manager forced them to work when they should have been taking rest breaks or to continue driving without making a legal record of their work.

In the same month of December, another company manager and mechanic were found guilty of corporate manslaughter after a truck crash in which four people were killed. The case dates back to February 2015, when the 32 tonne tipper truck went out of control due to faulty brakes. After investigations were carried out, it was disclosed that the company had flouted regulations which are in place to ensure the safety of the public. Vehicles were signed off as being roadworthy, even though there were longstanding faults. The condition of the brakes on the lorry at the time of the crash was totally inadequate, with an overall efficiency of 28%. The company had completely disregarded safety and maintenance with the most recent checks on the vehicle being carried out more than one month before.

At the beginning of January, news was made public that a driver had been given a prison sentence and two more have been fined for falsifying driver hours records and in some occurrences failing to keep a proper record of them at a Tuffnells parcel depot in Devon.

These three recent cases of a breach in health and safety for drivers at work unfortunately send out the message that rules related to driver hours, recordkeeping and maintenance and vehicle check performance still need to be stressed within companies. It is a matter of urgency to create a company culture that promotes safety for the staff and the public on the roads as well as the best practices to reach compliance, in order not only to avoid incidents and decrease risks, but also for the good execution of work and tasks, which has an impact on safety, costs, insurance and on the operativity of a fleet.

Corporate manslaughter is a serious offence in the UK and it is likely to be treated similarly in Ireland with the 2016 introduction of the corporate manslaughter bill. Concepts such as duty of care and corporate social responsibility must be at the core of a fleet and part of its policies and culture.

 

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, Safety, fleet safety

Fleet and business vehicles: 2016 sees 1.48M UK registrations and LCVs up 18.3% in Ireland

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 17, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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By the end of 2016 a new record was set for the automotive market, particularly for fleet and business vehicles: the total number of annual registrations of vehicles has climbed to 2.7 million in the UK, following a continuous growth trend that has characterised the last 5 years. In Ireland, the total number of new vehicle registrations for the year 2016 (146,672) finished 17.5% up from 2015 (124,804).

 

As mentioned previously, the growth was mainly due to a surge in fleet and business vehicle registrations which in the UK totalled 1.48 million, up from the 2015 figure of 1.42. In Ireland, according to official statistics released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, the growth was 18.3% higher for Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs). Heavy Goods Vehicle registrations in Ireland for 2016 were also up by 31.3% (2,873) compared to the previous year (2,188).

 

Throughout 2016 in the UK, every month registered a growth in sales except December which was probably down to the fact that the month is a festive one, with slower business in general. Ireland instead experienced a particularly successful December, with registrations up 45% (499) compared with the same month in 2015 (344). 

 

Among the all the data drawn from the UK market, it is interesting to note that diesel and petrol vehicles continue to be the most popular vehicles, with diesel’s market share at 47.7%, but the demand for alternative fuel vehicles has experienced an increase of around 22.2% throughout the year, with plug-in and petrol electric hybrids up 41.9% and 25.1% respectively. The statistics also state that more than 10,000 motorists decided to go fully electric in 2016—a growth of 3.3% in comparison to the previous year. In Ireland, new car registrations for 2016 finished at 146,600 for the full year, making it the highest year for new car registrations since 2008. Despite some slowing in the second half of the year, the numbers are in line with expectations at the start of 2016 and underline the continued growth and buoyancy of the economy.

 

Despite the uncertainties in the global economy and politics, specifically in the UK with the outcome of the Brexit vote, 2016 proved to be another successful year for the automotive and fleet industry. The great choice of both innovative and high tech models available in the UK market has been able once again to push success and make the car market deliver another great performance. For Ireland, the new 171 registration period sees the industry anticipating a continuation of the strong performance of 2016, and similar registration numbers to last year are being projected.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts, fleet vehicles

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