Siemens adds an innovative, flexible new company car model to its fleet offering
A nimble small car for city driving, a comfortable executive saloon for long journeys to visit customers or even, for a period at least, no company car at all? Different requirements are best met with different cars, but with leasing agreements for company cars typically having a term of three years, short-term flexibility has not previously been an option. Now though Siemens and partner SIXT are to provide eligible employees in Germany with the opportunity to access environmentally-friendly vehicles on demand.
Our work and life routines can change dramatically from one day to the next – a fact that we all know at least since the Covid pandemic. Many of us have been working from home for more than a year, with actual physical travel to meet with customers also a rare occurrence. The company car is still there though and has to be paid for: our leasing agreements continue to apply. Furthermore, environmental concerns and looming bans in many cities mean that a large diesel fleet is no longer appropriate.
New circumstances, new car
Siemens and partner SIXT have developed the Longterm Flex program to address these concerns. In future, eligible employees in Germany will have the option of signing up for this new model instead of tying themselves to a three-year leasing agreement for a company car. Why might they want to do that? Because the new model allows drivers to change their company car based on their changed life circumstances as well as to choose an environmentally-friendly electric or hybrid car. It is even possible to have no car at all for a period of weeks or months if none is needed, in which case the monthly basic fee of € 200 for the Longterm Flex contract continues to apply but there are no usage-based costs to pay. Employees can in theory change vehicle class every day but in practice this should be a considered decision as there is a charge of € 30 per change. A Longterm Flex contract has a term of just twelve months rather than the 36 months of the traditional leasing agreement.
A new car in just a few clicks
Vehicles are reserved with the same SIXT app used for car hire. The process is quick and straightforward: create a profile for Longterm Flex, select a local SIXT base, specify the relevant period, find a suitable car from the vehicle classes available, review the reservation details, costs and personal information and confirm the reservation. It’s as quick and easy as shopping on Amazon! The app also provides a straightforward and contactless process for changing vehicles. Are the formalities complete, all the driver then has to do is collect the reserved vehicle from the SIXT base at the agreed time.
The Longterm Flex model created by Siemens and SIXT offers a flexible and sustainable company car solution. The environmental benefits it opens up will help Siemens to become CO2-neutral by 2030. The model gives eligible employees access to a vehicle appropriate to their changing needs at all times and the short contract terms mean that drivers will largely be spared the trouble of arranging workshop visits and tire replacements. They can also expect to save money thanks to tax breaks available for company car use: the private use of electric company cars up to € 60,000 will be taxed monthly as a financial benefit at just 0.25 percent of the gross list price per month as imputed income. The corresponding figure above the € 60,000 threshold is 0.5 percent.
We have been working toward our ambitious 2030 climate objectives for some time and were aware that our various efforts would need to be accompanied by additional innovative solutions for alternative fleet concepts if we are to become climate neutral. Longterm Flex with SIXT and the associated app fit perfectly with our strategy to push through a big increase in the use of electric and hybrid vehicles.Thorsten Eicke, Vice President for Global Mobility Services at Siemens
A pilot project involving selected users is currently underway to check and ensure the stability of the processes. Routine operation is to begin from 2022, after which it is intended to extend Longterm Flex to additional customer groups in Germany. The model is not suitable for the service fleet due to the equipment permanently installed in the vehicles. In the longer term, it is intended to roll out Longterm Flex in other countries as well.