Asked what the industry can expect over the next three to five years, a panel of experts identified that growth in the Polish and Czech Republic fleet markets would surge ahead of other accession states.
Professor Peter Cooke, of Nottingham Business School in the UK, predicted at the Fleet News Europe Conference, in Brussels, that Eastern European countries will purchase larger numbers of new cars, rather than used ones as they do now.
The fleet industry will become more similar across Europe, largely driven by international suppliers, protecting the environment will become more widespread and levels of sophistication will improve in some emerging countries.
Maciej Szczepaniak, editor-in-chief of Polish fleet title Flota, is expecting price harmonisation of new cars, the quality of services to fleets to improve, including leasing, crash repair and insurance, and improved residual values.
Peter Verkuyl, vice-president of the European Car And Truck Rental Association, predicts that operational leasing, the technical name for contract hire, will become 'a real service industry'. Fleets will seek a cost-driven, flexible and no-hassle service from operational leasing companies, he added.