More choice over company cars


More choice over company cars

UK companies are offering employees increasing choice in the make and model of the company car they drive, according to research by consultants Watson Wyatt.

Watson Wyatt's UK Compensation Report 2003 shows that only 10% of sales executives and 11% of field service engineers now have no choice over make and model of the company car they drive, compared with 16% and 18% a year ago.

Elaine Devonshire, a consultant at Watson Wyatt, explains: "The trend is clearly towards more choice. As the range of cars available, in terms of body styles, equipment and engine types has expanded in recent years, employers have allowed their company car drivers more freedom of choice over the vehicle most suitable for their individual needs."

"And the choice is not just over what car employees drive but also in whether they can take a cash allowance instead to purchase or hire a car independently of their employer."

Key survey results

  • 36% of sales executives have a free choice of car up to a maximum cost, while 55% may choose from a range of makes and models designated by their employer. For field service engineers the equivalent figures are 32% and 57%.
  • There is even more choice for those outside of "customer-facing roles" -- 45% of senior managers have a free reign and 5% have no choice. For non-sales middle managers, 43% have a free choice while 7% have no choice.
  • Of those companies providing a company car or car allowance to sales executives, only 49% offer a company car only with no alternative to take cash as an alternative, compared with 56% in the 2002 report. In non-sales roles, cash alternatives are now even more prevalent, with only 23% of middle managers obliged to take a company car. Instead, 11% of middle managers are provided with a cash allowance in replacement of a company car and 66% are given the choice of a car or a cash allowance.
  • The average maximum cost including VAT for a company car for sales executives with a free choice is £17,727, rising to £24,796 for top sales personnel and £29,771 for general managers.

Want to know more?

Title: UK Compensation Report 2003, Watson Wyatt.

Availability: Reports are available from Elaine Devonshire, tel: +44 1737 241144, or email:, price £850.

Watson Wyatt is a global consulting firm "focusing on human capital and financial management". It specialises in employee benefits, human capital strategies, and insurance and financial services. Watson Wyatt has more than 6,200 associates in 89 offices around the world. To find out more visit

Posted 8 September 2003