Rebounding fleet sales will soften the blow for the auto industry as the end of scrappage schemes causes a decline in private purchases across Europe, research firm Datamonitor has claimed.
The independent market analyst believes businesses that put off updating their company car fleet during the recession will choose to invest in 2010 as the economic recovery takes root.

Datamonitor expects the share of company car purchases in total new car sales to rebound to 30% in 2010 from 25% in 2009.
Tarun Bisht, senior automotive analyst at Datamonitor, said manufacturers contending with declining demand from private buyers will show renewed interest in the fleet sector.

He added: “Car producers such as Peugeot, which aims to have an 8% market share in the fleet sector in 2010, have already initiated new strategies aimed at stimulating sales to businesses.

“Manufacturers such as Nissan, Renault and Kia have forged alliances with leading international lessors to increase their sales in this sector.

“Furthermore, car manufacturers are also making efforts to create centralized pan-European sales teams so that they can serve and co-ordinate with fleet customers more effectively and efficiently.”

Datamonitor believes manufacturers with cars that are fuel-efficient or equipped with other green technologies are most likely to benefit, as most fleet clients will be looking for more environmentally friendly cars.

“The global slowdown in the automotive industry has influenced the attitude of fleet buyers towards fuel efficiency and green technologies,” said Bisht.

“Many corporate and fleet customers are adopting environmental measures to offset CO2 emissions, as they are well aware of green issues and climate change. Owning a green fleet enhances a firm’s brand image and is positively perceived by many stakeholders.”