11 Jun 18

LatAm trends in vehicle fleet technology and innovation

While fleet vehicles in Latin America have historically lacked some of the technology and innovation found in other regions such as Europe and the United States, a move away from basic cars to more sophisticated ones is an ongoing trend occurring throughout the region.

By 2022, a few transitional features are expected in fleet vehicles, according to consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan which conducted a study on what fleet managers are looking for.

"Basically, Fleet managers are looking for accident prevention first and vehicle theft prevention second,” says Frost & Sullivan consultant Yeswant Abhimanyu who is also a member of the Global Fleet Advisory Board Latin America.
To benchmark the Latin American market, knowing which vehicle characteristics are considered basic and which are added extras are key. Here is a breakdown of features in the region.

Becoming Must Haves

Among the options becoming must have features in your cars in the upcoming months are refrigerated compartments and glove boxes, rear parking sensors, automatic side mirrors, LED vehicle lights, engine start/stop buttons, digital air-conditioning control, follow-me-home functions, connected infotainment, media screens, smart key with remote commands, and HMI Voice-commands.

ISOFIX, the international standard for attachment points for child safety seats in passenger cars, is also becoming more common as safety equipment and accident prevention is becomming more of a focus in Latin America, according to the study.
The safety standard has regional names such as LATCH ("Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children") in the United States and LUAS ("Lower Universal Anchorage System") or Canfix in Canada.

Nice to Have

Not considered basic but nice to have are under-seat/floor storage, auto pre-tension seatbelts, knee airbags, front parking sensors/camera, rear parking camera, electric seat adjustments, heated seats, illumination sensors, inductive phone chargers, auto tailgate, side mirror defoggers, HMI Touch screens, and multiple charging points with 110/220V outlet when needed. 

Depending on the fleet budget, options such as electric parking brakes, alloy wheels, slope launch assist, and powertrain options such as turbo downsized engines are also nice to have.

Wow factor

To offer the wow factor for top executives, some features to include in your fleet are airbag curtains and safety canopies, dual-zone air-conditioning, 360 view camera, advance driver assistance systems (ADAS), intelligent lighting, in-car Wi-Fi, auto headlamp cleaning, next-gen intelligent keys, HMI gestures/HUD and touch pads, and driver emotion detection.

Finally, electric, hybrid, and hydrogen fuel vehicles should gain momentum in the coming years due to new regulations stemming from sustainability concerns. Most governments in Latin America are giving tax benefits and incentives on domestic production and the importation of these types of vehicles to boost market segment growth.

Yeswant Abhimanyu discusses study results at Global Fleet conference 2018 in Rome (Source: Global Fleet)

Authored by: Daniel Bland