This comes on the back of a 20% average increase in accessory spend since 2000.
Analysis of accessory trends across the Lex fleet of 178,000 vehicles in 2006 showed that satellite navigation is not a priority for company car drivers who are probably using equipment they can move between vehicles and also use for on-foot journeys. Sat nav appeared in the top five accessory spend of just three out of eleven market sectors.
The most popular accessory across most car sectors was the parking sensor. A very sensible choice, and one which would be encouraged by fleet managers for several reasons.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, for people who spend many hours on the road, in-car comfort and entertainment featured frequently in 2006 top five accessory trends by business drivers.
Radio/CD upgrades appeared in the top five accessory choices of the upper medium, executive, mini MPV and prestige sectors, while leather seats were popular in 4x4, prestige and sport models.
A lack of spend on Blue Tooth preparation or phone kits reflects that a large majority of fleet managers are either equipping company car drivers with hands-free kits to ensure legal and safety requirements for mobile phones are fully met, or banning the use of phones while in transit.
The accessory market reached its peak in 2003 with average spends across all sectors topping £1,000. The market then suffered a decline, largely due to higher standard specifications being fitted by car manufacturers.
However, 2006 has seen overall spend climb once more to £985. Spend remains strongest at the higher end of the market, with luxury car drivers tempted by the added comfort of heated front and rear seats and the extra security of laminated glass windows. The average vehicle specified four separate accessories, with the exception of the small car sector with only two accessories being added.
“As many company motorists spend a great deal of time in their cars they see some accessories as an investment,” said Jon Walden, managing director of Lex.
“They have to pay extra tax as the P11D price of the car will increase, but it’s clear that in-car audio and parking sensors obviously help drivers when they are out on the road.”
Trends in accessory spend