Thinking of doing business across Europe?
Then you need to do your homework.
There is something paradoxical about implementing pan-European fleet deals.
Lease companies thinking of targeting multi-national organisations that are looking for economies of scale need to have one eye on the international market and the common issues that unite fleet drivers the world over, while the other is firmly focused on the cultural and parochial differences that divide them.
There are many factors a company must take into consideration before it is ready to launch its credentials on to the international stage.
For example, is its IT system robust enough?
What about its cross-border processes?
What is its in-country capability, and what is its knowledge of local and international risk, and tax regulation?
Lease companies need to invest heavily in IT systems and software that speak the same language in terms of accurately measuring RV fluctuations affecting specific vehicles from Mexico to Melbourne.
All companies operating in different countries will be able to pinpoint vehicle RVs in that territory. But what about cross-border visibility?
Can you, for example, accurately predict the closest achievable value for the new Ford Mondeo in 2010, and how it will fare in the wake of global and local economic factors as well as the cultural differences, brand values of the vehicle, marque patriotism, technical specification, different territory regulations and political events that will impact the market?
You’ll need to.
Trade barriers between the US and Mexico are starting to come down which means that the latter could be awash with surplus American saloons.
Companies need to be ready for any political and commercial fall-out in order to protect their world-wide business.
The same can be said for process transparency.
Customers are increasingly looking for pan-European fleet management contracts and it is vital to ensure systems and processes are in place to maintain a consistent level of quality and service in each country.
These could represent cultural changes that need to become embedded in the DNA of a business.
The European leasing market is growing in complexity with increasing EU regulations governing the behaviour of drivers, so we are likely to see more and more companies looking to leasing providers to optimise their fleet cost on an international basis.
The industry is increasingly complex and regulated, so companies need to be mindful of the raft of risk, health and safety, technical and tax-related issues that affect them, many of which need to be harmonised across the EU for greater clarity.
Lobbying for harmonisation is something that companies should consider as they enter the cross-border arena.
There are ‘too many shades of green’ in European vehicle policy and all countries must encourage driver behaviour change so that they are more environmentally-friendly with their choice of vehicles.
Some countries are very forward thinking, but others are far from joined up.
Equally, those countries at the vanguard of environmentally-friendly initiatives are not always consistent with their messages.
The Dutch government, for example, wants to ban diesels in urban centres unless they have particulate filters, but some diesel manufacturers argue that this policy could be harmful to the vehicle and result in more breakdowns if used only for urban driving.
Currently, European regulations on the car’s contribution to environmental damage remain sovereign state decisions, so little can change in terms of carbon control unless the issue is dealt with at EU level.
But, as any international fleet management company will tell you, different car tax regimes make it impossible to effectively plan pan-European fleet policies to achieve a common aim of reduced CO2 output.
Global warming requires a global response.
When the UK moved to a CO2-based taxation system it resulted in the ‘dash for diesel’.
However, in other countries less importance is placed upon the environment when making fleet decisions so multinational companies managing pan-European fleets are faced with different legislative rules when they cross international boundaries.
Each country has its own emissions targets, but surely we would make greater progress if all countries worked together.
- Masterlease operates 210,000 vehicles in 17 territories.