Miel Horsten (Renta): ‘Stop bashing the company car’
Miel Horsten, chairman of Renta, the Belgian federation of car rental companies, didn’t like the government’s ‘cash for car’ proposal at all, but is more positive about a mobility budget for employees. He pleads for clear rules as soon as possible and “to stop bashing the company car” and would rather see a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for the whole of Belgium.
“Cash for car is a monster”, says Miel Horsten. “We are much more in favour of the so-called mobility budget. It’s not ideal but it’s an important step into the right direction. We all want less traffic problems and a greener mobility, we have to support each move promoting this.”
Horsten is also positive about the impact this will have on the leasing companies. “The sector is preparing for a multimodal mobility. Our members are advising companies/clients about new mobility solutions like, for example, combining train and bike with a car.”
Will this mobility budget solve our traffic problems? “That’s wishful thinking”, says Horsten. “It’s a small piece in a much bigger puzzle. Infrastructure in Belgium, especially the one for bikes, is far below average. Public transport can be better and more reliable.”
Miel Horsten also warns that the impact of the sector of fleet and leasing cars is overestimated. “Company cars represent only 375.000 of 6,5 million vehicles in this country. We also have to look at all the others cars, they’re also stuck in traffic jams and are more polluting. A lease car has an average age of 2 years, for a normal car in Belgium it’s 8,5 years.
No uncertainty, no bashing
Horsten thinks that employers will react positively on the mobility budget. “We get a lot of questions about the mobility budget, while the demand after the launch of cash for car was very small. The only thing we don’t need is uncertainty about the rules and modalities.”
The green movement Bond Beter Leefmilieu is asking to stop the proliferation of company cars by fiscal measures. Horsten reacts: “We have to go the opposite way. I would install a scrap premium to remove older cars (Euro 2, 3 and 4) as soon as possible from the road.”
“In fact we should make a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in the whole of Belgium and dump the old rubbish as soon as possible. But bashing the company car has to stop. Almost 85% of the company cars complies with the most stringent Euro 6 rules.”