THERE’S no question that there’s an appetite for more technology inside vehicles, whether it’s for safety, entertainment or reinventing the way we spend time in our cars. However, most don’t realise that the latest crop of infotainment and connected car advancements are adding value not just to the fleet but delivering value to entire industries.
Take the fleet industry, which caters to businesses, government agencies and other organisations that purchase or lease groups of vehicles to support their services.
When it comes to choosing fleet vehicles, residual value (RV) is king. It’s the biggest single factor in the total cost of ownership (TCO) of most vehicles and is a vital consideration when designing a fleet policy or ordering a vehicle. There are several different things that contribute to the depreciation rate of vehicles, which ultimately decides its RV.
It’s long been known that the equipment levels of a car contribute to this, but the findings of a recent study by AIC – part of Eurotax Glass’s – highlights just how important premium in-vehicle technology (IVT) can be in this equation, making it a critical consideration for purchasing and designing fleet policies.
Around 25 per cent of all vehicles registered in the EU last year were bound for so-called ‘true fleets’, those operated by independent companies as opposed to the manufacturers and their partners. In some countries the figure was as high as 50 per cent and an increasing number of these are leased rather than bought outright.
In Germany, for instance, 60 per cent of company cars are leased, which is driving an increased focus on whole-life costs, rather than only lease rate.
The figures show that HARMAN’s premium IVT adds tangible benefits to lease vehicles’ residual values.
Take the BMW 3 Series for instance. Estimates put together by AIC show that over 36 months the RV is up to 2.1 per cent higher when fitted with HARMAN’s Navigation Professional system compared to the same vehicle with a non-HARMAN Business Navigation.
A vehicle featuring such technology retains 81 per cent of the original system price over a three-year period, while also providing fleet users with more features for their money.
Enhance productivity, safety and reduce running costs
There are other benefits too. Premium IVT tends to come with features that enhance safety, provide seamless connectivity, improve productivity and driving experiences, and that can focus the attention on running costs.
One example is HARMAN’s powerful computing platform, Life-Enhancing Intelligent Vehicle Solution (LIVS). It brings connectivity features together for the car to provide drivers with intelligent, adaptable and personal solutions.
Showcased in concept car the Rinspeed Etos and more recently the Rinspeed Oasis, the system provides an intelligent driving experience with features that are capable of learning and anticipating the preferences of vehicle passengers.
In the Etos, LIVS was combined with Office 365 services to allow drivers to complete tasks without compromising safety, including scheduling meetings, hearing and responding to emails and automatically joining conference calls.
Meanwhile, connected car features such as real-time traffic updates, allow users to plan and modify their routes smartly, reducing time spent in congestion. Cutting down on stop-start traffic reduces fuel usage and even cuts wear and tear on the drivetrain. It’s another example of how specifying premium technology can actually reduce the vehicle’s costs over its lifetime, adding value.
Thanks to HARMAN’s over the air (OTA) update technology, fleet vehicles can also be kept up to date with the latest security features and functionality. This helps to future-proof them against new trends, further boosting those all-important residual values. Again, it shows how investing in premium IVT can reap rewards, both in terms of added value and outright financial gain. And that can only be a good thing.