In today’s ever changing global fleet marketplace, fleet managers must deal with an array of differences between the markets in America and Europe. While the vehicles used in these fleets might come from the same manufacturers, that is where the similarities end.
In terms of market size alone the US far outweighs Europe as the single biggest car market in the world, with an annual vehicle sales of over 10 million. Although the annual sales for fleet vehicles is lower in the US than in Europe, they still maintain a 15 percent market share. While lower, this is still a very important sources of income for the fleet builders with an approximate 1.5 million vehicles sold each year. In contrast, European fleet sales make up nearly 50 percent of all new vehicles sold in that market. The difference in sales numbers comes from the different in fleet usage needs in both markets. In the US fleet vehicles are mostly used by employees who need them to perform job functions, while in Europe in which the vehicles are considered a standard part of the overall job reimbursement package. Because of this, managing fleet costs in Europe has become much more costly than in the US.
In the US, standard passenger cars and light duty trucks make up a major share the fleet market, while across the pond they lean more towards a more rounded selection of vehicles. New fleet vehicle sales in the US come mostly from the “Big Three” General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler with those three manufacturers taking up over 80 percent of the annual US market share alone. Fleet sales in Europe are split more evenly between US and other global auto makers, with the market being split nearly 50/50 between the two. This is because in Europe most fleet vehicles are driver selected, while fleets in the US tend to buy the same style of vehicle each year regardless of who will be driving it instead basing the purchase on vehicle usage instead of driver preference.
Fleet pricing also differs between the US and European markets. In the US market, vehicle prices have little variation between the three major players. This leads to a very transparent and simple marketplace, where most fleets buy from a single vendor. In Europe, the prices between dealers can vary up to 20 percent for similar vehicles due to fluctuations in the resale market. This leads to fleets being supplied by a wider array of vendors than in the US marketplace and a greater importance placed on the preferences of the driver.