Arval car hire to equip telematics

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Arval, one of the UK’s leading contract hire car firms in the UK, has announced that it’s set to introduce telematics hardware to its 90,000+ vehicles across the country, helping to lead the way in the adoption of the tracking technology. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has praised the move, suggesting that it’s the fleets that will help garner acceptance for the system, rather than individuals and insurers. You may have read Arval car lease reviews however Arval vehicle leasing is excepting telematics hardware more and more.

Of course Arval isn’t the first car contract hire firm to announce telematics for all its vehicles, that honour goes to ALD Automotive over a decade ago, but as FleetNews explains, not every company has gotten in on the act. Arval doing so at this critical stage, when telematics are just starting to see mainstream adoption, is when it counts.

In a statement explaining its introduction of the technology, an Arval spokesperson said that it was working with a third party provider for the hardware. They also said that the company expected to have all of its lease vehicles fitted with telematics hardware by the end of the year. Quite a bold claim, as that’s not a cheap install – especially with that many vehicles.

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While no one from Arval has outright said what they plan to use the technology form primarily, be it tracking stolen vehicles, helping drivers improve their safety and fuel economy, or simply as a way to keep an eye on their hire cars isn’t clear, but based around further statements by the spokesperson, chances are it’s a bit of everything:

“Telematics has become a strategic topic for Arval over the past few years,” they said. “Not only is it an important lever to optimise fleet management, both in terms of total cost of ownership and from an environmental perspective, it is also a way to get drivers directly involved and influence their driving behaviour.”

As committed as Arval is, it’s still one of relatively few large fleet operators which have adopted the technology. The reasons for this tend to be associated with costs more than anything, as well as ignorance. Many people simply don’t know it exists, or don’t understand the benefits, but even those that do know what telematics is all about, may still be stuck in the past when the hardware responsible was expensive. Today it’s far cheaper, with some insurers even offering basic tracking services using customers’ mobile phones.

Fleet management consultant Professor Colin Tourick said of the technology: “I have no doubt that this area will grow, that we will see more telematics systems installed and leasing companies and telematics companies will provide ever more integrated solutions, until we get to the situation where they will merge and offer seamless solutions. As well as Arval service and Arval lease early termination if required.

“It is clear that for the right fleet the right telematics solution can deliver quite amazing benefits, including a reduction in fleet costs and risks, and a significant improvement in customer experience.”

This is the type of reaction we’ve seen in a lot of companies adopting the tracking hardware. While there are some concerns about worker privacy to start with, it helps avoid insurance fraud and unauthorised use of work vehicles too, which can really cut into an enterprise’s profits.

Image source: Intel Free Press

Check out our post – Training still required for risk management warns car hire firm.

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.