Volkswagen partners with RAC to fit UK trucks with telematics

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has partnered with RAC to fit its trucks with telematics technologies so that businesses can better monitor their fleets.

The news comes as RAC poached CEO Nick Walker from German telematics rival Masternaut, to become managing director of its telematics business.

The new RAC telematics service promises to help fleets cut fuel, monitor driver behaviour and increase productivity – reducing downtime.

Business users can create and send reports through their phone to analyse CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency. Drivers and managers will be alerted to potential faults and given the option to schedule a maintenance appointment at a garage through the web portal.

Firms will also benefit from collision detection, fuel monitoring and geo-fencing to assist and track drivers.

Kevin Rendell, head of service and parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK, said: “Running a cost-effective fleet is crucial to maintaining a profitable business, which is why more and more companies are investing in telematics to help manage their fleets.

“Our telematics system is a comprehensive solution, which can help companies to reduce fuel costs, extend the lifespan of parts and components, and optimise vehicle efficiency. It’s been designed to offer the level of quality and technical innovation that our customers expect from Volkswagen. It is much more than just a method for tracking driver behaviour and vehicle locations.”

Despite an intrusion onto their driving patterns, two-thirds of commercial drivers are comfortable with telematics being installed in their vehicles, a study by telematics firm Masternaut showed.

Further, firms are reporting reduction in costs and safety benefits from installing the trackers in their fleet. For example, an NHS ambulance provider reported a 92 percent improvement in safety since installing telematics.

RAC telematics roadmap

The Volkswagen deal signifies a new direction in RAC’s telematics roadmap.

Last year, the UK motoring body’s telematics services were set to be bought by insurance claims handler Quindell.

Quindell, set up by technology entrepreneur Robert Terry, has historically bought companies that are connected to, or can assist, insurance transactions and law. A natural step for Quindell was the purchase of a telematics company and a lucrative contract with the RAC was drawn up. However in 2013, financial analysts Gotham City Research published a critique of Quindell, causing its stocks to crash and RAC to pull out of the high-profile deal.

Telematics technology is actively moving over to cars marketed at consumers who want lower insurance premiums; last year BMW announced the world’s first factory-fitted black-boxes for drivers.

The Volkswagen and RAC telematics service will cost £12.50 per contract (VAT excluded).

Image: ©Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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