Research firm Datamonitor says that it expects the share of low-emission ‘green’ vehicles in use in Europe to rise from 2.3% in 2009 to 3.2% by 2015.

The firm also says that growth from fleet operators – business users – will be strong.

Datamonitor says that the it expects EU emission norms and government regulations to be the main driving force behind the growth in popularity of fuel-efficient, low-carbon-emission vehicles.
According to Datamonitor estimates, business fleet vehicles account for around 10% of all cars on EU roads. As a result of the financial crisis, the green consumer mindset and increasing governmental pressure, lessors are looking to incorporate more fuel-efficient vehicles into their fleets – a trend which is set to increase in the next few years.
Tarun Bisht, senior automotive analyst at Datamonitor, said: “As a result of a growing awareness among consumers and companies, the penetration of environmentally friendly cars in the European fleet sector has increased over the past few years.
“A ‘carrot and stick’ approach by governments through legislative incentives such as tax breaks, congestion charges and greater tax on polluting vehicles has led fleet lessors and leasing companies to rethink their ‘green’ car strategies. As a result, demand for cars that emit less than 120g of carbon dioxide per kilometre grew at a compound annual growth rate of around 40% between 2000 and 2009 in Europe.
“By ensuring that low-carbon-emission cars dominate their fleet parc, lessors are ensuring that the company and user fuel bills are reduced. The greater availability of fuel-efficient cars on the market has also contributed to the uptake in green car penetration among company fleets.
“Meanwhile, leasing companies see the ‘green’ tag as a positive driver for their (and their clients’) brand image.”

Datamonitor’s definition of ‘green vehicles’ includes alternative propulsion vehicles, hybrids and low-emission  – under 120g/km – petrol and diesel cars.