14 Mar 24

New Arval Barometer reveals growing role for HR, and large gap in telematics use

Just because your fleet is equipped for telematics doesn’t mean you actually use the data it produces. In fact, that’s true for only 16% of fleets, reveals the latest edition of the yearly Mobility and Fleet Barometer, released today by the Arval Mobility Observatory . “This is indeed a rather low figure,” says Oana Duma (pictured), the new Head of the Arval Mobility Observatory. “But the positive news is that 61% are either already using or considering using telematics data in the next three years.”

Celebrating its 20th edition, the Arval Mobility Observatory’s annual Barometer is a truly global instrument for gauging the current state and future prospects of the fleet and mobility ecosystem. (Click here for our reporting on last year's Barometer). For the 2024 edition, Ipsos surveyed more than 8,000 fleet decision makers across 30 countries in Europe, North and South America, and the Asia-Pacific region. 

The result is a 93-page report, brimming with data on the evolution of fleet composition, vehicle financing, powertrains, mobility solutions and connectivity. Some of the most revealing insights came from new questions added to the Barometer this year: not just the surprisingly low level of telematics data usage, but also the surprisingly high share of fleets with used vehicles. 

Ahead of the Barometer’s publication today, Fleet Europe had the opportunity to go over the report’s six key takeaways with Ms Duma. 

1. Fleet confidence remains high

91% of companies expect their fleet to remain stable or grow in the next three years

“This result confirms what we have seen in the past: fleets are very resilient to geopolitical turmoil”, Ms Duma comments on the statistic cited above. “In fact, this resilience is in evidence for companies of all sizes, where it used to be restricted to the largest ones. So companies are actually more resilient than before.”

The most important reason given for projected fleet growth is business development (73%), followed by HR-related needs like recruitment and retention of personnel (44%) and offering vehicles to previously ineligible employees (32%). 

“Here, and also in the chapter on mobility solutions, we see the growing importance of HR considerations in broadening the offer to a larger part of the staff. Talent retention is clearly becoming more important”, Ms Duma says. In other words: in the war for talent, cars (and mobility solutions) are an increasingly relevant weapon. 

The Barometer shows the average age of fleets decreasing, but just a little: from 5.6 years in 2023 to 5.5 years in 2024. This is an indication that delivery issues are slowly easing. Nevertheless, a new question added to the Barometer this year shows that 43% of companies globally have some second-hand vehicles in their fleet. 

Add in those who are considering doing so over the next three years, and that figure rises to 83%. The results for Europe alone are almost similar (41% and 83%, respectively).

2. Full-service leasing continues to grow

36% of companies consider introducing or increasing full-service leasing in the next three years

Full-service leasing has been around a long time, but it continues to grow in popularity, in both mature markets and relatively new ones. While the overall share of companies that are considering introducing or increasing full-service leasing stands at 36%, it’s much higher in Italy (63%), Mexico (54%), France, Spain (both 51%), and Turkey (47%). 

“What’s remarkable in this year’s figures, is that the growth in the future potential of full-service leasing is no longer situated just in the large companies, but also in the middle categories: the small-middle ones at global level, and the large-middle ones in Europe”, says Ms Duma.

This shows that full-service leasing is increasingly recognised across companies of all sizes as an attractive way to de-risk fleet operations and free up capital for core activities, especially in economically challenging times like ours. 

3. Already significant, fleet electrification continues

70% of companies have implemented at least one alternative fuel technology, or are considering it in the next three years

In the 2022 Barometer, 59% of companies said they had already implemented at least one alternative-fuel technology for their cars (defined as HEVs, PHEVs or BEVs), or were considering doing so in the next three years. A year later, that figure jumped up to 70%, and in this year’s Barometer, it remains stable at 70%. 

“There is still a momentum for electrification, just at a slightly lower growth pace than it was last year. And it certainly won’t stop here”, says Ms Duma. “Also, there is a subtle change in the approach to the various technologies, with the uptake of HEVs decreasing, of PHEVs remaining stable, and of BEVs continuing to increase.”

That can be read as an indication that the level of electrification is maturing. By the way, Europe is firmly ahead of the global figures, with 59% already implementing at least one technology, and 77% already implementing or considering doing so over the next three years. 

Looking at individual countries, that figure rises to 93% not just in electric pioneer country Norway, but also in France, followed closely by the UK (92%) and Sweden (91%), Germany and the Netherlands (both 88%), and Italy and Spain (both 87%). 

While the electrification of LCVs is lagging behind somewhat, with just 31% of companies having implemented or considering implementing at least one alternatively-powered van in their fleet, there is progress here too: “In the 2022 Barometer, only 7% of fleets had BEVs in their fleet. In this year’s, that figure went up to 10%. Adding in those who were considering an e-LCV, the figure rose from 21% in 2022 to 25% this year.” (Click here for more on the lagging electrification of light commercial vehicles). 

4. BEVs are expected to continue to increase, though challenges on charging and cost remain 

36% of companies have implemented BEVs in their car fleet, or are considering it in the next three years

Today, 20% of companies surveyed have at least one BEV in their fleet. Add in those considering adopting one or more full-electrics over the next three years, and that figure rises to 36%. The respective figures for PHEVs are in the same range: 23% and 36%. 

And those are the global figures; they’re higher for Europe, where 25% of fleets already have BEVs (29% PHEVs), and 42% have BEVs or are considering them in the next three years (43% for PHEVs).

However, both globally and in Europe, following a robust increase in EV adoption from 2022 to 2023, there is a slowdown from 2023 to 2024. This can be related to some of the remaining obstacles to electrification: high EV prices and, not in the least, the perceived lack of charging infrastructure. 

That lack is mentioned by 70% of the respondents not yet considering BEVs, with the lack of public charging mentioned most (35%), followed by lack of charging opportunities at work (31%) and at home (29%).  

“The figures for those last two responses are on the increase; but in a way, that’s also a sign that the demand for EVs is maturing. As more companies start to investigate how to adopt EVs into their fleet, the demand for charging at the office or at the employees’ home becomes more relevant”, explains Ms Duma. “In that respect, it’s interesting to see that company subsidies for home charging installations are on the rise, from 16% in 2023 to 20% in 2024.” 

5. HR-related needs are pushing mobility solutions as complements to company cars

75% of companies have already implemented at least one mobility solution

Overall, 75% of companies worldwide (79% in Europe) already offer at least one mobility solution (those include car, ride and bike sharing, bike leasing, private leasing, salary sacrifice, public transport, short- or mid-term rental, and a car or cash allowance). The global figure is up four percentage points over the previous year, and the trend is now driven by mid-sized companies. 

“Another change from last year, when mobility solutions were largely CSR-driven, is that they’re now more HR-related. More companies are using mobility solutions to attract and retain talent”, says Ms Duma. That explains why mobility solutions will only become more widespread. Adding in those companies that are considering offering mobility solutions in the next three years to those who already do, the share of companies with a positive attitude towards mobility rises to 92%. 

One of the most popular options, both now and in the future, is bike leasing – in some countries, at least. Adding up companies already offering the solution with those considering it in the next three years, Chile (56%), Belgium (48%) and Germany (46%) come out on top, with the UK (41%) not far behind. On the other end of the spectrum, the option is least popular in countries like Mexico (10%), Australia (11%) and Italy (16%).

6. The telematics paradox: many cars are connected, but the data remains underused

40% of companies have adopted a telematics tool for their cars or LCVs

With 40% of companies using telematics for part or all their fleet, connected vehicles have a high degree of penetration in corporate fleets. Separated for vehicle type, that penetration is slightly higher for LCVs (25%) than for cars (22%). 

The figure varies greatly across countries, with Mexico (56%), Brazil (52%) and the UK (50%) among the most enthusiastic adopters, and France, the U.S. (both 33%), and Canada (30%) among the most reluctant ones. 

Paradoxically, there’s a huge gap between having the equipment and using the data: only 16% of companies equipped claim to be using the data coming through a telematics platform.  

“We’re not surprised there is a difference between both, but the figure is indeed rather low”, says Ms Duma. “This is because on the one hand, more and more vehicles roll off the assembly line with embedded connectivity, but on the other hand, many fleets then have to collect data from various different OEMs, and that’s a challenge.”

“But the positive news is that 61% of companies are either already using or considering using telematics in the next three years. We do believe we’ll see a lot of evolution, although perhaps not immediately. We think this gap is an opportunity in the mid-term for providers and consultants to help fleets unlock the potential of this data.”

Click here to read the Arval Mobility Observatory’s Fleet & Mobility Barometer 2024 in its entirety.

Authored by: Frank Jacobs