Business information company Datamonitor surveyed 650 fleet managers in Europe and said its findings still represented a key opportunity for a number of suppliers, particularly vehicle manufacturers which have been developing their presence in Europe over the last five years in an effort to gain significantly more penetration of the leasing market.
Datamonitor's Fleet Procurement Survey 2003 shows the focus on cost cutting is likely to benefit car manufacturers as the lower the number of marques operated in a fleet, he says, the greater the savings in vehicle acquisition.
According to the survey, nearly 70% of fleet managers operated four marques or less and 15% operated just one marque in their fleet. The company expects the trend towards fewer marques to continue for the next few years.
The survey found that about 45% of respondents were planning to review their choice of marques within the next two years with value of money of key importance.
Datamonitor automotive analyst and report author Zafar Currimbhoy said: 'There has never been a better time for vehicle manufacturers to develop their share of this market, especially if their offering can convey a strong, value for money proposition.'
But Datamonitor warns manufacturers that the European fleet market presents several challenges, with 70% of respondents suggesting they would turn to a leasing company as sole supplier.
Currimbhoy added: 'The fleet marketplace has developed into a highly competitive environment, especially in the UK, France and Germany, three of the largest company car markets in Europe.
'Therefore, it is moving swiftly towards an environment where price and innovation are the key differentiating factors, as a high quality of service is already assumed.
'Hence, regardless of the type of fleet company utilised, if the price is right the chances for gaining business is high, especially given the considerable focus on cost-cutting that has swept across corporate Europe in the last few years.'