Fleet News

Fleet Europe Forum: research reveals EU divide

AN investigation into the fleet policies of more than 7,000 companies in Central and Eastern Europe has identified major differences compared with fleets in the rest of the EU.

Demand for fleet vehicles is initially influenced by the very different economies of the countries surveyed, with manufacturing accounting for a much greater proportion of businesses in CEE countries.

The survey, covering Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia found that international buying decisions affected only a fraction of fleets in the survey, with more than 80% buying locally.

Compared to Austria, where more than 70% of firms had implemented a car policy, in CEE countries it was just over 40% in most cases. The Czech Republic was the highest with just over 50%.

The survey looks at each country in detail and in the Czech Republic, the number of small firms with up to 10 vehicles that had a formal fleet policy was just 22%, while in those with up to 30 vehicles it was 50%. For those with over 30 it was 75%.

Only a minority of vehicles were funded through operational leasing in the CEE, the survey showed - 10% in some cases - while finance lease is popular, as well as cash purchases.

The priorities of fleet managers are also very different, with a much great focus on purchase price, discounts and image in the CEE regions, but there was little importance attached to residual values.

Radek Muzik, from INCOMA Research, which carried out the survey in partnership with Fleet Europe and revealed the results at the Fleet Europe Forum on Central and Eastern Europe, held in Prague, said: ‘Internal efficiency is not the priority in many companies yet and there is an orientation on short-term effects in many cases.’

But he added that the level of development needed in some companies meant that suppliers, such as leasing companies, had an important role to play in the future of fleets in each country.

He said: ‘There is a lack of know-how, which shows a need for support from professional suppliers, which will be appreciated by fleets.’

His comments were backed by Gregoire Chove, of international leasing giant Arval International, who said: ‘The main focus is on price today and it is hard to convince firms that spending some more might bring end results that offer better value for the customer. It is the duty of lessors to help customers look beyond price when sourcing vehicles.’

The research carried out by INCOMA Research and MMM, the publisher of Fleet Europe, costs Euro 4,000 per country and is available by contacting Fleet Europe direct.

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