The CEO of Motability discusses some of the challenges facing Motability during this year – and how the organisation will deal with them.

What can we expect from Motability during 2022?
As far as the scheme goes, Motability Operations have worked very hard to keep people mobile despite the global forces coming into play that cause disruption, particularly in terms of availability of vehicles – and we’ve got a transition to electric, very much upon us. People talk about 2030 but actually, it’s upon us now. We’ve also got other forces beginning to come into play such as inflation. 

How challenging has negotiating with car manufacturers for the best prices for Motability vehicles been, all things considered? 
It is very challenging, and it’s very difficult to plan. I think it’s also very difficult for the manufacturers to plan as well. The pandemic’s been a catalyst for a lot of things, which may have happened over the next five years anyway, but they’re all happening now. For example, Mobility Operations has announced that it will be investing in the transition to electric to a considerable extent. An element of that, of course, is the pricing and how we keep in step with the electric share of the market.

Do you worry about the Motability scheme? Is there enough good business reason for manufacturers to continue their loyalty to it?
In the short term, we’ve got challenges but, due to what we think is good management, Motability Operations is secure. In the longer term, it will be about change and about making sure we maintain relevance. If that’s done, then I’m sure there’s a future. 

Does Motability specifically plan to encourage customers to make positive decisions about electric vehicles sooner than they otherwise would have?
Given the Government’s policy, when 2030 comes along you won’t have the choice anymore. It’s going to happen. So, we’ve got to start moving with the market now. 

Obviously, it’s very sensible to have an obligation to the environment, but we have an obligation to disabled people, and we’ve got to make sure that they are not left behind in all of this. They continue to depend on our value service levels, degree of choice and continuity. We’ve set the bar high to date and achieved it. I hope we’ll be able to continue to achieve it in the future. 

The flip side of challenges is opportunity. There are opportunities, we’ve just got to spot some of them.