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Transformation under way in the corporate fleet market

22.03.2019

Exit the company car, enter hybrids, electric vehicles, car pooling and car sharing. New mobility challenges are forcing companies to rethink their fleets, and leasing companies are proposing innovative solutions in response to the shifting landscape.

 

In 2018, corporate fleets in France experienced a mini revolution. While diesel vehicles continued to dominate the corporate mix, their market share fell sharply, dipping below 80% for the first time, as registrations declined 8.4% year on year. “This is a pretty significant threshold,” says François Piot, head of the Corporate Vehicle Observatory (CVO), “considering that until fairly recently it was above 90%.” In contrast, the number of petrol vehicle registrations rose dramatically, climbing 42.6% year on year. These trends are primarily the result of a government policy decision to phase out diesel due to public health and environmental concerns. “A real energy transition is now under way,” confirms Régis Masera, head of consulting at the leasing company Arval. “Taxes, price of purchase and running costs are higher for diesel than for petrol.”

Clean cars are in

The integration of clean cars into vehicle fleets is another current trend. Although the number of electric vehicle and hybrid registrations in the corporate market rose by 45.1% and 43.9%, respectively, EVs and hybrids still represent a small 2% and 3.2% of the corporate mix. Here too, the increase is being driven by tax incentives and stringent policy measures, such as the decision by some large cities to prohibit conventional diesel and petrol vehicles from entering their urban centres. In addition, France has introduced a framework bill on mobility that aims to ban the sale of greenhouse gas-emitting cars by 2040. According to CVO, 59% of companies have made carbon reduction a cornerstone of their fleet policy. To address these new mobility challenges, vehicle leasers are adapting and expanding their offering. Arval’s combined internal combustion/hybrid solution, for example, lets employees use a hybrid to commute to work and a conventional car for longer journeys.

A boom in car pooling and car sharing

Beyond clean cars, an even more transformative revolution is taking place. According to Masera, “Vehicle leasers are slowly moving away from their core business model and embracing the idea of total corporate mobility, which significantly increases the number of potential users.” Car sharing, for example, is becoming an increasingly popular fleet management solution. Employees can book a car online and pick it up in a company lot or public car park, without having to use a car rental agency. The benefit for the company is above all economic, since vehicles are pooled and optimised and no longer assigned to a single person. This arrangement can be applied to bicycles as well, which can be a practical solution for employees needing to visit another corporate location or attend a meeting nearby.

Once a matter of individual choice, car pooling has also become a strategic fleet management option. “Things took off when starts-ups began to massively invest in corporate car pooling,” says Piot, “but also when disruptions to public transport forced employees to see car pooling in a new light.” Car pooling has become so popular, in fact, that 27% of companies would like to develop it. Klaxit offers a solution that lets employees from different companies view car pool listings near their home and place of work. It even provides a “guaranteed ride home” service. If a match can’t be found to take the car pooler home, it will find him/her a vehicle for hire.

Mobility credit: reign over for the company car

To optimise employee mobility, companies are shifting towards other modes of transport. Apart from the company car, employees have other choices to help them make optimum, cost-effective, time-efficient travel arrangements. One answer is mobility credit: Based on the annual cost of a company car, employees are given a budget with which they can choose their own modes of transport. “It covers everything, from taxi to train, to aeroplane, public transport, bike rental and car pooling,” says Sébastien Fabre of Ubeeqo, the first leasing company to offer mobility credit. “Employees can even rent a vehicle to help them move house or go on holiday and let people around them benefit from their mobility credit.” For the time being, this trendy solution is only available in major cities where employees can easily do without a private car.

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