Below we highlight some of its key findings.
Nearly half the new passenger cars sold in the seven largest markets on the Continent were bought by fleets, from car rental companies and large corporations through to governments and small firms.
According to research by Datamonitor, penetration of corporate sales throughout the Continent has increased as the retail market starts to struggle and last year private buyers held off purchases of new cars due to low confidence in the economic recovery.
Jugoslav Stojanov, automotive analyst with Datamonitor, said: ‘The retail market doesn’t worry too much about high mileage and losses in residual values. Business users, on the other hand, need to replace cars more often because of high usage, depreciation and expiry of leasing contracts. In addition to that, more and more small and medium-sized firms seem to be funding their purchases on long-term rental, which secures more dynamic replacement rates and, in turn, higher annual sales.’
Companies such as Hertz, Avis and Europcar consume around a tenth of all new cars sold in Europe’s top seven markets.
The increasing use of mid-term rental is helping rental firms gain ground. Stojanov added: ‘Many of those cars are hired by companies for business use in the form of medium-term rental. In a bid to keep more cash available for investment, companies exercise prudence in vehicle procurement, particularly when additional cars are needed for temporary projects or temporary employees. In such cases, they avoid binding commitments of leasing or buying and simply rent.’