The number of companies questioned who offer cars on the basis of a driver’s status has dropped from 52% to 39% over the past year.
Another factor growing in importance is the car’s fitness for purpose, listed by 18% of respondents compared to 13% a year ago.
The study was carried out by GE Commercial Finance, Fleet Services as part of its quarterly Company Car Trends reports.
It found that more fleets are choosing vehicles based on a wholelife cost per mile calculation rather than just making financial decisions on lease rates alone.
Fleet managers are also more likely to ensure the vehicles on their choice list meet safety standards, such as a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
Rich Green, managing director at GE Fleet Services, said: ‘The overall message is that the company car is undergoing an increasing level of popularity as a serious business transport tool.
‘As a result, companies’ fleet operations have become much more focused.’
Green said the survey shows fleet managers have to balance providing a company car as an employee benefit with its role as a ‘tool of the trade’.
He added: ‘They want to achieve this at the best possible cost while properly observing duty of care and environmental considerations.
As firms move to bring employees back into mainstream company car provision, they are offering vehicle choices that are highly motivational but much more controlled than in the past.’
Green believes inexperienced drivers are now less likely to be given high-performance cars and are more likely to be given driver training before being handed the keys to any company-provided vehicle.