CITROEN'S Paris-based international fleet department is in discussion with 70 companies exploring future opportunities for pan-European fleet deals.
However, the manufacturer admits that not all these discussions will come to fruition and believes that in the short-term about 20 will result in the signing of a Europe-wide deal.
Department head Thierry Peugeot said many of the companies were not ready or able to implement such a deal.
'Some companies operating across Europe have no idea how many cars they operate,' Peugeot said, 'so of course we are not in a position to carry on any discussions. We cannot really help companies who cannot provide us with such vital information.'
Since launching the six-strong fleet department a year ago, Citroen has signed four pan-European supply deals — some for up to 15 countries and others for only three.
The manufacturer has noted an increase in quotation requests for pan-European supply deals over the past four months — a trend Peugeot believes could stem from companies preparing their budget requirements for next year.
'There has definitely been a notable increase in the number of companies contacting us to talk about their fleet requirements,' Peugeot said.
He added that discussions are more likely to reach an advanced stage if the company is attempting pan-European consolidation for the second time. 'These are companies who perhaps introduced a Europe-wide programme three or four years ago. They have the experience and we find that these companies want to add more countries, for example China,' he said.
Peugeot stressed that pan-European deals can generate savings for fleets — not only from the supplier base but also due to the fact there is less administration.
'There are some countries that perhaps use 35 different marques and 25 different leasing companies. If they reduce those suppliers they are bound to achieve huge savings.'
The manufacturer is confident that next year it will increase fleet sales with the launch of the new C3 supermini, which is launched across Europe from next spring and will sit between the Saxo and Xsara. (October 2001)
Harmony call will hit low fuel tax countries FLEETS in European countries with low fuel taxes face soaring costs as a result of the European Commission's call to harmonise taxes across the continent.
The news comes on top of fears generated by the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Western governments are hoping any future escalation of conflict in the Middle East does not affect oil supplies.
'The European Commission faces a long and difficult journey if the proposal to harmonise fuel taxes is to succeed,' said Marvin Hender, director of fuel at leading fleet company Arval PHH.
'Countries such as Greece and Spain, which levy low fuel duties, are likely to resist plans to raise their tax levels close to those high-duty countries.'
The EC's call was published by the European Commissioner for transport and energy, Loyola De Palacio, in mid-September.
'This could produce a very negative impact on the Spanish market,' said Fleet News Europe's market expert in Spain, Sergio Piccione. 'The decision to try and harmonise fuel taxes could be terrible for Spain. Until now the country has 15% lower taxes than the European union average.
'In the future, maybe the best the industry can hope for is a progressive and smooth increase in fuel taxes to avoid an immediate collapse in the market.'
But the call has been welcomed in high-cost countries like the UK, where fleets could see their fuel bills slashed by millions of pounds a year. (October 2001)