Features
27 Apr 22

Trends impacting the vehicle fleet evolution in Latin America

When it comes to the evolution of corporate fleet in Latin America, besides the transition to electric vehicles (EV), among the changes to be aware of are the growth of vehicle connectivity and new mobility alternatives, as well as the push towards safer vehicles.

In the region’s largest corporate vehicle market Brazil, just over 35% of the 1.98 million or so in light vehicles registered in 2021 were commercial vehicles, making it the most robust corporate fleet market in Latin America. 

Although there are incentives for corporate fleet, there is still a lack of awareness in terms of vehicle leasing and a considerable amount of red tape in Brazil, according to Lorena Isla (pictured left) who is Director of Mobility in Latin America for Frost & Sullivan.

“Brazil is a pioneer when it comes to new vehicle acquisition models such as subscription services and others,” says Ms. Isla who highlighted the three largest vehicle markets of Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina during her keynote presentation at Fleet LatAm Conference VEx 2022 on Tuesday (26 April).

In terms of Mexico, some 15% of the 1.01mn registrations in 2021 were company cars and in Argentina, only about 10% of the 382,104 registrations were corporate. 

Although there are some tax benefits in Mexico, there is not much in Argentina, and this reflects the reason why direct purchases are the main acquisition type there.

Commercial Fleet Forecast (source: Frost & Sullivan)

 

2022

2020-2025 CAGR

Brazil

754,382 of the 2mn total forecast
(corporate market share, 37.7%)

+3.6%

Mexico

170,000 of the 1.06mn total forecast
(corporate market share, 16%)

+8.9%

Argentina

46,598 of the 390,908 total forecast (corporate market share, 11.9%)

+14.7%

 

In terms of trends, Ms. Isla highlighted three. One is fleet connectivity which she sees adding new revenue streams to leasing companies but also opportunities for fleet managers. 

The other is new mobility solutions which offers more flexibility to companies, options which actually compete with leasing solutions. Today, the new normal involves transitioning from a vehicle budget to a mobility budget, according to the executive.

Last but not least, Ms. Isla certainly sees electric vehicle (EV) leasing on the rise but there are still hurdles such as recharging infrastructure and pricing issues.

Electric Vehicles

When it comes to full-electrics and hybrids, there are several new models popping up in Latin America but it is still a market for a select few and much of it has to do with price.

For example, while the average price of a new car in Brazil is 134,000 reais, the lowest price EVs and hybrids are 165,000 BRL and 147,000 BRL respectively with averages being much higher, according to Milad Kalume Neto (pictured right) who is Business Development Manager for Jato Dynamics in the country.

Considering cargo vehicles, the average price in Brazil is 163,000 BRL with the lowest electrified models topping 209,000 BRL,” says Mr. Kalume who also spoke at the 5th edition of the Fleet LatAm Conference.

Despite companies eying EVS, overall market share over the past few years (2018-2021) has not really shown growth in South America.  While the share in Brazil was just over 3% in 2019, it has dipped under 3% since then and this is partially due to the lack of semiconductors worldwide.

Meanwhile, market share has never reached 3% in Argentina, falling since 2019 and in Chile, although remaining stable over the past few years, market share has never reached 2%, according to the executive. 

As for the future, all the major automakers are developing new EV models and the situation should improve as semiconductor stocks gradually replenish but there are still several challenges to overcome. 

Besides the need for lighter and less costly batteries which recharge faster and have longer ranges (average of 365km in Brazil), expansive recharging infrastructure is needed.

More tax incentives and government subsidies are also needed to help make these vehicles more financially accessible across the region, according to Mr. Kalume.

Safety

Last but certainly not least, to keep drivers, passengers, and pedestrians safe, maintaining appropriate vehicle safety standards is a must in Latin America.

According to Latin NCAP, the Latin America and Caribbean regional car safety assessment program, creating a vehicle safety standard worldwide which is also applied to Latin America and the Caribbean is crucial. 

“Consumers in the region should not pay more for safety features which are standard in other more economically mature markets,” Latin NCAP Secretary General Alejandro Furas (pictured left) said during the afternoon session of the Conference, adding that it is fundamental to offer clear and independent information to all consumers.

Latin NCAP gives zero to five-star ratings focused on the protection of adult occupants, child occupants, pedestrians, vulnerable road users, as well as safety assist systems such as electronic stability control (ESC) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

According to some of the latest test results under the assessment program, while the Volkswagen Taos SUV received a five star rating in December 2021, other SUVs such as the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson did not fare so well. Visit Latin NCAP for detailed results and more information.

Top Photo (source: handouts)

Authored by: Daniel Bland