Argentina

Last modification: 29 Oct 18
Introduction: 

From 2003-15, Argentina saw Peronist rule by Nestor and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a time of isolated policies which caused economic stagnation. However, the country has seen reform and commercial opennes which has resulted in international integration since the election of Mauricio Macri in November, 2015.

This period is mainly characterised by comprehensive state reform at all levels, which include greater control, digitalisation and modernisation.

The international community has corresponded favorably to this change, with the most important presidents having visited Argentina as proof of support. A firm relationship with the IMF has also been re-established, and Argentina was chosen to chair the G-20 in 2018. 
As the economy in 2017 showed signs of recovery with a decreasing inflation rate, an increase in GDP, as well as a fall in unemployment and poverty, most Argentinians embraced the change.

However, 2018 has proven to be difficult with the benchmark interest rate rising to 60% amidst the strengthening US dollar. The implementation of reforms has been key, but no major changes are expected in the coming years. 
Argentina is home to the third largest automobile fleet in Latin America, only behind Brazil and Mexico. 

Thank you to contributors to the Argentina WikiFleet page: AutoCorp  BDO  RDA Renting

 

Chapter 1: Economic and business environment

Demographics

Population of approximately 44.3 million (July 2017)

Capital

Buenos Aires (est. population 2.89 million)

Major cities

Buenos Aires (2.89mn, or 13.5mn metropolitan area), Córdoba (1.61mn), Rosario (1.33mn), Mendoza (1.11mn), and La Plata (957,800)

Languages

Spanish (official)

GDP

In 2017, increased 2.5% year-over-year to US$620bn
Ranked No. 29 in the world
US$13,995 per capita

Unemployment rate

8.1% (2017)

Main industries

food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel

Currency

Argentine peso

Interest rate

prime rate, 60% (September, 2018)
 

Inflation

31.2% (July, 2018)

Chapter 2 : Automotive market, segments & sales

Total Car park

14.8 million cars, approximately one car per three inhabitants (est. 2017) 

New vehicle registrations (Cars, LCV, Trucks)

900,942 vehicles in 2017, up 26.9% year-over-year.

Source: SIOMAA-ACARA

Top 5 brands (total market)

2017

1. Volkswagen
2. Chevrolet
3. Ford
4. Renalt
5. Fiat

Source: SIOMAA-ACARA
 

Model preference top 5 (total market)

2017

1. Volkswagen Gol
2. Chevrolet Onix
3. Ford Ka
4. Fiat Palio
5. Chevrolet Prisma


Source: SIOMAA-ACARA

Chapter 3: Company car market

Total Fleet Park (company cars)/Fleet penetration in total fleet sales

Argentina does not have any formal data disclosing this information.

However, according to Global Fleet advisory board member Alberto Velez, approximately 584,000 corporate cars are in the country. 

Evolution fleet sales (last 5 years)

A total of 199,140 light commerical vehicles (LCV) were registered in 2017, up 26.1% year-over-year.

Source: SIOMAA-ACARA

Top 5 fleet brands (fleet market)

2017

1. Renault
2. Toyota
3. Fiat
4. Volkswagen
5. Ford

Source: SIOMAA-ACARA

Fleet Model preference top 5 (fleet market)

2017

1. Toyota Hilux (34,036)
2. Volkswagen Amarok (22,433)
3. Renault Kangoo (17,612)
4. Ford Ranger (20,194)
5. Renault Duster Oroch (15,869)

Source: SIOMAA-ACARA

Chapter 4: Taxation & legislation

Argentina

The basis of company car taxation in Argentina is reflected in this overview. Different types of taxes are considered here: taxes related to the registration of the vehicle, income taxes and VAT aspects. Expected future developments are also briefly listed, if any.

1. Car taxation

1.1. Registration tax

Taxable event

The taxable event includes the individual/Company’s purchase, importation, self-production, receiving as gift or award, or other forms of obtaining a taxable vehicle for personal-use.

Taxable person

Individual/ Company

Taxable due

Vehicle Purchase Tax payable = Market value * Tax rate (1,50% (National Vehicles) – 2% (Imported Vehicles))

Determination of market value for the initial registration:

The one that arises from the valuation table of the National Administration. When it is not possible to determine the value, and if they were new national imported automobiles or imported ones through intermediaries: the price of the good plus expenses and taxes resulting from the operation, according to the sales invoice or an equivalent document.

Taxable period

In one occasion only, at the moment of acquiring the vehicle.

1.2. Annual circulation tax

Taxable event

The registration of vehicles is taxed in the corresponding provincial territory. (Auto Registration Fee)

Taxable person

The individual or company who register a vehicle with the administrative departments of vehicles within the territory of Argentina.

Taxable basis

The valuation of motor vehicles is calculated annually according to the characteristics and the values assigned by the chamber representing the automobile insurance activity, insurance companies, specialized publications and the chamber of official dealers.

Taxable period

The payment of the tax is annual, divided in 6 bimonthly installments.

2. Income tax

  • Income taxes for car industry = Taxable Income * 30%
  • 30% is the standard rate in Argentina for fiscal years closed between 1/1/2018 until 12/31/2019 and 25% for fiscal years closed from 1/1/2020 onwards, while the incentive rate may apply case-by-case.

3. VAT

3.1. General

Enterprises recognized as general taxpayers are entitled to use the input tax to credit against the output tax.

  • Output VAT= Sales value * applicable VAT rate.
  • Input VAT= Purchase value * applicable VAT rate.
  • VAT payable = (Output VAT – Input VAT)
  • Standard VAT rate is 21%.

3.2. Leasing

  • 21% VAT applied for car leasing business
  • In "leasing" contracts that have as purpose the lease with the option to purchase the automobile, the percentage of the tax that is computable as tax credit which falls on each fee and on the price established to execute the purchase option should be recorded.

4. Company car

4.1. Income tax - Deductible expenses and Depreciation

  • Deductible expenses:

ü Automobile maintenance: is deductible only up to ARS 7,200 per car for each fiscal year.

  • Depreciation and amortization:

ü Annual depreciation allowances for trucks and automobiles: 20% per fiscal year.

ü Depreciation for automobiles, including those used for leasing, is deductible only up to that part of the acquisition cost not exceeding ARS 20,000 (net of VAT).

4.2. VAT – Deduction

  • Input VAT is deductible only up to that part of the automobile acquisition (including leasing) cost not exceeding ARS 4,200.
  • In contrast to what is provided in Income Tax, in VAT there is no limitation to the calculation of the tax credit generated by automobile maintenance expenses, as long as they are allocated to taxable activities.
  • The tax credit related to leasing agreements with parking lots, garages and other similar is not computable.

4.3. Company car in personal tax returns – benefit in kind

  • Benefits in kind, including travel allowances and car expenses, are fully taxable and are added to the individual’s income taxable base.
  • If the Company recognizes car expenses related to the particular activity of the employees, such expenses have to be reflected in the salary receipt and are reached by the Income Tax rules.
  • If they are associated to a request made by the Company and have the supporting evidence such as vouchers, they will be classified as “per diems”, not being considered as wage for the employee for the purposes of the social security and labor standards nor taxed on Income Tax.

4.4. Leasing Financial - Accelerated depreciation

  • In Income Tax the deduction of depreciation is allowed in an accelerated manner, considering the validity of the leasing contract. This represents a financial advantage, since this term is generally shorter than the useful life of the automobile.
  • The cap provided for the depreciation of cars of ARS 20,000 is also applicable.

5. Income taxes – drivers’ personal taxation

5.1. Private car in the personal tax return

  • In relation to car expenses, when it is used for private use and to develop activities related to the Company, for the purposes of deducting Income Tax, you must estimate annually what percentage the car has been used for taxable activities.
  • In the case of brokers or salespeople, you can deduct when determining Income Tax, the estimated mobility, travel and representation expenses, the tax amortization of the vehicle and, where applicable, the interest for debts related to the acquisition thereof, and up to a maximum of 40% of the non-taxable profit.
  • Regarding taxis and similar vehicles, in which case the operation of automobiles is the main object of the taxable activity, the limitations regarding the deduction of depreciation and maintenance expenses do not apply.

6. Excise Tax

Taxable event

Includes the transfer and importation of automobiles and motorcycles.

Taxable person

Producers, importers and merchants.

Taxable rate

Rates vary depending on the sales value of each type of good:

Automobiles and Diesel Engines: 0% (in effect until 12/31/2018)

Automobiles:

- Up to ARS 900,000: Exempt

- Higher than ARS 900,000: 20%

Motorcycles:

- Up to ARS 140,000: Exempt

- Higher than ARS 140,000: 20%

Taxable due

Excise duties are normally calculated on the sales price as including the excise tax itself and any other tax levied on the chargeable product except VAT.

Taxable period

At the time of acquisition

 

 

 

Source: BDO (2018)

 

Biodiesel

As of January 2018, biodiesel exports have an 8% tax. Besides keeping more of the fuel at home, this will bring the market closer to the 27% export tax already being lobbied on soy oil.

The Argentine government has approved a new emissions policy through resolution 797-E. As of January 15, 2018, automobile manufacturers and vehicle importers in the country will need to declare carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption amounts. 

In the meantime, while the European Union has lowered import duties from Argentine biodiesel exporters, the United States has increased its import duties.  

Moreover, its worth pointing out that Argentina gives progressively increasing tax breaks on cars US$25,000 and more. 

Chapter 5: Car policies

There isn't a standard car policy in Argentina as determining who gets a vehicle is directly related to the company's core business. Nevertheless, salesforce divisions are usually the ones that have more company vehicles and these types of cars are known as “job car” o “tool vehicle”. Managers and Directors also have vehicles. However, these vehicles are not necessarily related to the daily activity of the company and they are known as “benefit cars”.

In terms of using vehicles for private and business use, many companies find it very difficult to measure and control their fleets parametres so cars frequenly end up being used for both purposes. Besides a lack of well defined policies, there is a lack of fleet management and telematics support in the country. 

When it comes to traffic violations, they are not easy to deal with in Argentina as it is difficult to access ticket information on a single unified plataform. It is actually quite simple in the main cities, but accessing this information is much more difficult in small cities in far away provinces.

In terms of paying fines, it usually the employees responsibility. As legislation does not allow companies to make deductions from salaries, HR departments depend on the “good will” of the employee. In many cases, employees just end up paying off their tickest at the end of their pocliy when they have an option to buy the car (a common benefit given by companies). 

As for vehicle repairs, it depends on the each and every policy. However, more companies nowadays rely on the expertise of fleet management companies to take care of this. However, there are still quite a few companies that have their own direct agreements with garages and repair shops. Accidents, on the other hand, are handled by the insurance companies.

Argentina's vehicle leasing market has experienced exponential growth over the last few years and there is still a high demand for renting & fleet management solutions.

Nevertheless, there still a lot of ground to cover, especially for companies that still manage large vehicle fleets alone and without any type of outsourcing solution. 

Source: RDA Renting

Chapter 6: Funding methods

Although car sales are on the rise, there are financial constraints in the country which explain why it is not necessarily because of financing. Due to high inflation (approximately 25% as of March, 2018), interest rates are also quite high. As such, the nominal value of a 3-4-year-old car could be higher than its nominal price when first purchased.

This makes it very difficult for leasing companies or car buyers to get credit, which is already very expensive. In the end, those with cash on hand are more likely to buy cars than finance them,.

To give you an idea, in April of 2018, the Central Bank of Argentina kept its benchmark interest rate at 27.3% and policymakers are not expecting much improvement for at least two years.

It is the lack of credit coupled with the low demand for financing which explains why there are almost no funded fleets in Argentina.

 

Chapter 7: Fuel

Average gasoline price per liter: US$1.07 
World average: US$1.17.
(est. August 1, 2018)

Argentina is pushing for the use of more biofuels domestically, something that is being influenced by US trade relations. The cost of regular gasoline in 2H17 was approximately US$1.14 per liter (US$4.34/gallon), ranked 22nd lowest priced country in the world. 

 

Chapter 8 : TCO components

The top five factors that affect TCO in Argentina are Insurance (approx. ARS 2,000/month), Gas (approx. ARS 30/liter), Financing (2018 local benchmark rate of 40%), Repairs and Maintenance, and Road Tax (approx. ARS 1,500/m). Others could be registration (6% of vehicle value), services, and tire changing. 


Argentina has very good opportunities when it comes to the need for reducing vehicle TCO. Many corporate clients have little control over their fleet expenses so having a business partner, or a company to consult and control every aspect of costs brings forth a lot of benefit. 


Authorizing and registering every car service, repair, maintenance, fuel reload, among others, is key. Clients need to know exactly how much they are expending and need to make use of the tax benefits stemming from invoices sent to them.  
 

However, the problem in Argentina is that companies are usually not set up with fleet management aimed at really collecting and organizing information. Usuallydecisions are made based on the price of cars and the discount they can get from buying in large numbers.  


Companies need to consider the total cost of repairing, fuel, delays in the delivery, depreciation, lost opportunity, and the real relationship between the car they need and the one they buy. All of this is information companies need to know in order to make the best decisions. 
 
Source: RDA Renting 

 

 

Chapter 9: Safety, insurance and telematics

Road Safety

The Observatory for Urban Mobility (OMU) concluded that the rate of road fatalities in 2014 was about 3.5 persons for every 1,000 inhabitants in Buenos Aires. To address road safety, Argentina has set specific policies in place, among them under its recently created National Road Safety Agency. 

Insurance

Approximately 20% of the vehicles in Argentina are insured

Mandatory third-party vehicle insurance: Article 68 of Traffic Law 24,449 of 1995, provides that all automobiles, trailers or semi-trailers, must be covered by insurance covering any damage caused to third parties, whether or not transported.(Source: Mapfe 2017)

Telematics

The Telematics service market is divided into two groups: the first one is made up of the larger companies that serve major accounts and offer a wide range of devices aimed at improving cost control and high-end reporting by means of an advance dashboard service. The second group is made up of smaller vendors who mostly focus on tracking.

The use of Telematics in Argentina is widely spread across the trucking industry, where they have adopted all features and make good use of all available capabilities.

However, the light commercial fleet segment has failed to embrace the full potential of telematics so far, apart from specific vehicle location functions. The technology is available for them to use, but it has not happened yet.

This is an area where good, affordable options are readily available, all of which will pay off in the short term.

At present, some insurance companies in Argentina request that all vehicles worth more ARS 500,000 to be fitted with vehicle recovery devices.

SOURCE: AutoCorp

Chapter 10: Environment

The Argentine government has approved a new emissions policy through resolution 797-E. As of January 15, 2018, automobile manufacturers and vehicle importers in the country will need to declare carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption amounts. Last year, the country saw 4.58 metric tons of co2 emissions per capita.

The requirement is for manufacturers and importers of light automotive vehicles which fall under category M1 (those with no more than eight passenger seats, not including the driver) and N1 (vehicles transporting no more than 3,500k of cargo)

The automotive companies must report the information to a technical operations unit, which hands out emissions certificates in addition to keeping track of co2 emissions and fuel consumption.

Chapter 11: Mobility

Even though the value of car ownership tends to be higher in Latin America, most bigger cities such as Buenos Aires provide bike sharing and ride hailing services. Argentina wants to transform its cities with the Cities 2030 plan, with a strong focus on transportation. The expansion of public transport, combined with the overall planning tool SUBE (Buenos Aires) should boost public transport.

The share of cycling in Buenos Aires increased strongly over the past decade, thanks to electric and shared bikes.

Finally, to cope with traffic congestion, air pollution and road safety, some cities in Argentina are at the forefront of mobility evolutions, such as shared, electrified, and smart mobility, as well as encouraging active and public mobility.

Chapter 12: Key trends to watch