Denmark

Last modification: 19 Aug 19
Introduction: 

The Kingdom of Denmark is a Nordic country that also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: Greenland and the Faroe Islands. 

Denmark is considered to be one of the most economically and socially developed countries in the world. 

Danes enjoy a high standard of living and the country ranks highly in some metrics of national performance, including education, health care, protection of civil liberties, democratic governance, prosperity, and human development. 

The country ranks as having the world's highest social mobility, a high level of income equality, has the lowest perceived level of corruption in the world, the eleventh-most developed in the world, has one of the world's highest per capita incomes, and one of the world's highest personal income tax rates.

Chapter 1: Economic and business environment

Demographics

5.8 million inhabitants (2019 est.)

Source: Danmarks Statistik

 

Capital

Copenhagen (1.3 million)

Source: Danmarks Statistik

Major cities
  1. Copenhagen
  2. Aarhus (273,000)
  3. Odense (178,000)
  4. Aalborg (114,000)
  5. Esbjerg (72,000)
  6. Randers (63,000)
  7. Kolding (60,000)
  8. Horsens (58,000)
  9. Vejle (57,000)
  10. Roskilde (51,000)

Source: Danmarks Statistik

Languages

Danish

GDP

Figures for 2018

  • GDP (total): $362.15 billion (+1.94%), world ranking 38th
  • GDP (per capita): $62,041, world ranking 10th

Source: International Monetary Fund
 

Unemployment rate

4.8% (June 2019, down from 5.2% in January 2019)

Source: Eurostat

Main industries

Maritime shipping, fishery, agriculture, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, petroleum and gas, furniture

Currency

Danish krone (DKK)
10 DKK = 1.33 EUR

Source: XE
 

Interest rate

-0.65% (June 2019)

Fleet Maturity Index (scaling)

5/5

Political key info
  • Governance: parliamentary monarchy
  • EU member since 1973
  • 12th-largest economy in the European Union (Source: Eurostat)
  • 10th most attractive country in the world to do business in (Source: The Economist Business Unit)

Following a general election on 5 June 2019, the right-wing government led by prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen was replaced by a left-wing government under the leadership of Mette Frederiksen, the leader of the Social Democrats. 

Ms Frederiksen is the second woman to become Prime Minister of Denmark, and – at 42 years old - the youngest PM in Danish history. 

Inflation

0.40% (July 2019, down from 0.60% in June 2019)

Chapter 2 : Automotive market, segments & sales

Total Car park

On 2 May 2018, there were a total of 3.2 million registered vehicles in Denmark – cars, LCVs, trucks, etc. 

Source: DR


On 1 January 2019, there were 2.594 million passenger cars in Denmark. 

  • That's an increase of 64,400 cars compared to a year previously. 
  • It's more than five times the number of cars in 1962, when there were just 470,000 cars in Denmark. 
  • If current trends persist, by 2023 the Danish car park will number 2.9 million cars.

Source: Danmarks Statistik

New vehicle registrations (Cars, LCV, Trucks)
  • In 2018, 112,400 new cars were registered on the private market, representing DKK 24.4 billion. This is about 3,300 units more than in 2017. 
  • Over the same period, 106,100 new cars were registered on the corporate market, representing DKK 28.3 billion. This figure also includes leased vehicles, irrespective of the leaseholder. The total figure is about 6,300 units less than in 2017. 

That's a total of 218,500 new cars, -1% compared to 2017. In spend, that represents a total of DKK 52.7 billion, +6.4% more than in 2017. 

The seeming contradiction between falling sales and rising cost is due to the fall in sales of cheaper small cars, and the rise in sales of more expensive SUVs. 

Projected sales for 2019 are of 133,600 new cars for the private market and 84,900 for the corporate market.

Source: Danmarks Statistik

Top 5 brands (total market)

Top 10 most popular car brands in 2018

  1. Volkswagen: 31,987 units (14.6% of the total market, +1.3 percentage points compared to 2017)
  2. Peugeot: 20,620 (9.4%, -0.6 p.p.)
  3. Toyota: 16,156 (7.4%, -0.2 p.p.)
  4. Citroën: 13,952 (6.4%, +0.8 p.p.)
  5. Ford: 13,266 (6.1%, +0.5 p.p.)
  6. Skoda: 12,932 (5.9%, -/-)
  7. Renault: 12,393 (5.7%, -0.9 p.p.)
  8. Mercedes-Benz: 11,491 (5.3%, +0.8 p.p.)
  9. Opel: 10,689 (4.9%, -1.2 p.p.)
  10. Nissan: 10,129 (4.6%, +0.1 p.p.)

Source: De Danske Bilimportører

Model preference top 5 (total market)

Top 10 most popular new vehicle models in Denmark in 2018

  1. Peugeot 208 (8.800 units)
  2. Nissan Qashqai (7.742)
  3. Volkswagen Golf (6.209)
  4. Volkswagen Polo (5.548)
  5. Citroën C3 (5.163)
  6. Toyota Yaris (5.015)
  7. Volkswagen Up! (4.956)
  8. Renault Ny Clio (4.431)
  9. Volkswagen Passat (4.412)
  10. Volkswagen Touran (4.358)

Not too long ago, every third car sold in Denmark was a mini car. No longer. Tax changes and a general shift by OEMs towards larger cars are some of the reasons why the market share of minis is falling fast in Denmark, from 19% in 2017 to 11% in 2018.

SUVs are in the ascendant: in 2017, that segment represented 18% of the market, in 2018 that had increased to 26%. 

Not all is lost for the smaller cars: almost one in four new cars sold in Denmark last year was in the B segment (small cars). 

  Segment 2018 % 2017 %
A mini 25048 11 39515 18
B small 52539 24 55336 25
C medium 40643 19 41835 19
D large 23256 11 21907 10
E executive 5828 3 5189 2
F luxury 182 0 152 0
J SUV 56999 26 40780 18
M MPV 12503 6 13943 6
S sports 316 0 331 0
  other 2184 1 2798 1

Source: Santander Consumer Bank – Rapport: Danskernes biløkonomi 2019

Used car market/renewal cycle

The used-car trade in Denmark is significant compared to its new-car trade, and also on the increase 

In 2000, 399,000 used cars were sold or re-registered in Denmark. A number of these re-registrations take place internally in companies. Nevertheless, there is a clear increase in the number of used cars sold. 

  • 2015: 532,949 units
  • 2016: 542,696 units
  • 2017: 555,000 units

Source: DR


The life expectancy of new cars is decreasing: in 2009, it was 15.9 years, in 2019, a new car can be expected to stay in service for 15.1 years. As a consequence, the average age of a passenger car in Denmark was 8.8 years – which translates into Denmark's youngest car park since 2001. 

About 1.15 million cars in service on 1 January 2019, or about 44% of the total, will still be running by 2030. Even by 2044, more than 100,000 of today's cars will still be left. 

Source: Danmarks Statistik
 

Chapter 3: Company car market

Evolution fleet sales (last 5 years)

New car registrations for the corporate market

2009: 50,357
2010: 78,754
2011: 86,481
2012: 67,444
2013: 66,669
2014: 83,995
2015: 102,634
2016: 120,195
2017: 118,861
2018: 106,123

Source: Danmarks Statistik
 

Chapter 4: Taxation & legislation

One of the major changes in vehicle taxation for 2019 in Denmark was the increase of the annual circulation tax tariffs for diesel cars. 

The following taxes apply to vehicles in Denmark:

  • Registration tax

Charged only once, at first registration of a car in Denmark, this tax depends in large part on the price and type of vehicle. 

For new private petrol and diesel cars, it’s 85% of the car’s sales price up to DKK 193,400, and 150% for the amount on top. 

It is possible to bring a car into Denmark for a limited period, for which only a quarterly registration tax for the duration (plus interest) will be required. 

It is also possible only to pay registration tax for the period of which the car is leased.

  • Circulation tax

Annual tax, depending on fuel type and engine volume. 

  • Fuel tax (on petrol and diesel)

Due to high taxes, Denmark has one of the highest fuel prices in Europe (see Chapter 7 – Fuel)

  • Bridge tolls (formally not a tax)

A toll is charged for cars crossing 
o    the Storebæltsbroen (from Fyn to Sjælland): DKK 245
o    the Øresundsbroen (from Denmark to Sweden): DKK 385 

The prices above are for single crossings; lower prices are available for frequent users. 

Income tax

For direct tax purposes, all costs relating to private cars are in principle fully deductible for the employer. For the self-employed, all costs relating to business activity are fully deductible. 

There is no deduction for costs related to private use of the car. The split between business and private use is normally based on an estimate, however it is also possible to make a deduction based on actual business kilometres driven multiplied by the maximum mileage allowance rates.

VAT

Danish VAT at the standard rate of 25% is due on all supplies of goods and services. No other VAT rates apply.

In principle, taxable persons are entitled to recover input VAT paid in connection with VAT-taxable activities. However, special conditions apply to motor vehicles (e.g., passenger cars, lorries, trucks), in which case input VAT may be recoverable only partly or not at all, even if the vehicle is used for the purpose of VAT-taxable transactions only.

Company car

Private use of a company car normally triggers taxation of the employee, adjustment of input VAT deducted upon the acquisition of the car by the company, and an additional tax for private use.

Drivers’ personal taxation

For employees without a company car, the car costs in respect of the private use of a car are not deductible in the employee’s personal tax declaration.
Instead, it is possible for an employee to get a mileage deduction (kørselsfradrag) for transport between the residence and the workplace for transport exceeding 24km per day. This applies to transportation in private cars, buses, trains, etc.

Mileage deduction 2019:

  • 0 – 24 km: No deduction
  • 25 – 120 km: 1.98 DKK per km
  • < 120 km: 0.99 DKK per km

Special rules apply for persons with low income and/or for persons living in ‘fringe areas’.

Mileage allowance

Should the employee use his private car for business purposes in the interest of the employer, the employer can pay the employee a tax-free mileage allowance per driven kilometre (kørselsgodtgørelse). The allowance is 3.56 DKK per kilometre for the first 20,000 km per calendar year and 1.98 DKK per kilometre for mileage above 20,000 km per calendar year. 

For a more in-depth treatment of tax issues, see the Fleet Europe Taxation Guide 2019.

Chapter 5: Car policies

Employers may offer some employees 

  • a company car, covering related expenses; 
  • the use of a pool car, covering work-related travel only; or
  • a mileage allowance (kørselsgodtgørelse) for driving their own car for work purposes.  

The rule of thumb: the more one drives – for both work and private purposes – and the bigger car one has, the more likely it is that a company car is the more advantageous solution for the employee. 

A tax simulation will clarify which is the better option. 

Source: Jyllands Posten
 

Chapter 6: Funding methods

Leasing is a very popular solution for Danish corporates. In the period of 2017-'19, around 75% of newly registered cars for corporate use in Denmark are acquired via leasing. 

Source: Finans og Leasing


This is a huge change versus 10 years ago, when leasing was still very much in a 'grey zone'. But nowadays, leasing is a standard practice for companies, and is gaining market share on the private market as well. 

FDM (Forenede Danske Motorejere), an organisation by and for Danish motorists, has drawn up a standard contract for private leases, which avoids the pitfalls that could occur in such situations. 

The rise of private leasing has also led to a range of subcategories, such as 'split leasing', in which a car is leased partly for private and partly for commercial use. 

Source: Fyens Stiftstidende

Chapter 7: Fuel

Fuel prices on 12 August 2019

Fuel prices in Denmark are generally higher than the European average. Here’s the average Q1 price of petrol for some of the past years:

2014: €1.67 
2015: €1.57
2016: €1.40
2017: €1.49

Current prices (12 August 2019) are a bit higher: €1.55 (DKK 11.54)

On the same day, diesel per litre was €1.33 (DKK 9.94)

Source: Global Petrol Prices

 

Sales per powertrain

  • Petrol sales are trending down, from 65.2% of all new registered vehicles in 2015 to 59.9% in 2016. But in 2018, due in part to Dieselgate, they were slightly going up again.
  • Diesel sales were rising, from 31% in 2015 to 36% in 2016, but dropped again to 33% in 2018. 
  • Pure EVs sold 2.6% in 2015, dropped to 0.9% in 2016 and slid further to 0.7% in 2018. 
  • PHEVs sold 1.2% in 2015, 3% in 2016 but halved to 1.4% in 2018. 

Source: ACEA


Sales per powertrain in 2018

  • Petrol: 132,860 units (61%)
  • Diesel: 72,236 units (33%)
  • Pure EVs: 1,545 units (0.7%)
  • PHEVs: 3,128 units (1.4%)
  • Conventional hybrids: 8,716 units (4%)

New vehicles in Denmark are still overwhelmingly running on combustion engines. In 2018, more than half of all new cars were petrol, a third ran on diesel. This is roughly the same as previous years. 

PHEVs were fairly popular in 2018, with 3,218 units sold – significantly more than the 620 units sold in 2017. Still, only 1.4% of total new-car sales.

Conventional hybrids also had a good year, with 8,176 new units sold in 2018, compared to 7,004 units the year before. However, they made up just 4% of total car sales in Denmark in 2018.

New pure-electric vehicle sales amounted to just 1,545 units, a mere 0.7% of total sales. 

Source: Santander Consumer Bank – Rapport: Danskernes biløkonomi 2019

Fuel infrastructure

There are 10 major gas station chains in Denmark and a few smaller independent fuel dealers. The major chains are:

  1. OK: 673 fuel stations
  2. Circle K (formerly Statoil): 231 fuel stations
  3. Shell: 220 fuel stations
  4. Ingo: 155 fuel stations
  5. Go’on: 142 fuel stations
  6. F24: 140 fuel stations
  7. Bonus: 122 fuel stations
  8. Uno-X: 120 fuel stations
  9. Q8: 107 fuel stations
  10. OIL!: 55 fuel stations

Chapter 8 : TCO components

It’s expensive to buy and operate a vehicle in Denmark. But what are the factors driving up that cost? Here is an overview of TCO in Denmark.

First and major element: acquisition. Denmark is the most expensive country in Europe to buy a motor vehicle in – in 2018, it was on average 40.5% more expensive to car or motorcycle in Denmark than in the rest of the EU. Here is an overview:
 

Country

 

Denmark

140,5

Norway (1)

136,9

Netherlands

123,7

Iceland (1)

123,1

Portugal

110.8

Finland

109.9

Ireland

109.5

France

105,4

Belgium

105,4

Austria

103,5

Italy

102,6
Malta 101,1
Luxembourg 100,9
Germany 100,9
EU AVERAGE 100
UK 99,5
Switzerland (1) 96,4
Croatia 94
Sweden 91,8
Greece 91,5
Slovenia 89,1
Hungary 88,9
Spain 88,4
Cyprus 88,3
Estonia 85,4
Bulgaria 85,1
Czech Rep. 84,7
Latvia 84,5
Lithuania 83,6
Poland 82,5
Romania 81,8
Slovakia 79,9

 

TCO example – Peugeot 208

Here is an overview of the average annual cost for Denmark’s most popular car in 2018, the Peugeot 208
 

Expense Description Annual cost Annual cost (€)
Owner tax a 'green' ownership tax of 540 kr. is charged twice yearly 1,080.00 kr. €140.40
Vehicle inspection (*) bi-annual inspections are mandatory if your car is 4 years or older 70.40 kr. €9.15
Vehicle insurance Liability insurance is mandatory; comprehensive insurance is popular, so is typically included 3,376.00 kr. €438.88
Service regular service is required to keep the car in good repair 1,099.00 kr. €142.87
Tire change calculated on an average of three times per five years 1,267.20 kr. €164.74
Fuel Based on 20,000 km/y at 12.59 kr./litre 14,639.53 kr. €1,903.14
carwash one wash per month 468.00 kr. €60.84
Vehicle loan (**) if you have taken out a loan, you will have to pay it back 27,172.31 kr. €3,532.40
Decline in value (***) your vehicle declines in value - an indirect cost which should nevertheless be taken into account 20,738.78 kr. €2,696.04
Annual cost Sum of the above 69,911.22 kr. €9,088.46

This is an underestimation, as it doesn't include parking and toll fees, the cost of oil and sprinkler fluid, child car seats, etc. Nor does it include unforeseen costs, such as repairs after accidents.

(*) the cost is divided to arrive at an annual figure
(**) 57% of 30-39-year-olds have a car loan, which is why it is taken as a starting point here. 
(***) assumed RV is 39%. Value loss is distributed over five years.
 

Source: Samlino

Chapter 9: Safety, insurance and telematics

Safety

In general, Denmark is a country with a low incidence of traffic accidents. The number of injured and killed is relatively low; on the other hand, those numbers are stubbornly refusing to go any lower than they already are. 

People injured in traffic accidents
2012: 3,611
2013: 3,395
2014: 3,195
2015: 3,156
2016: 3,228
2017: 3,143
2018: 3,257

People killed in traffic accidents
2012: 167
2013: 191
2014: 182
2015: 178
2016: 211
2017: 175
2018: 175

Source: Vejdirektoratet


EU member states by number of road fatalities per million inhabitants

1. Romania: 99
2. Bulgaria: 96
3. Croatia: 80
4. Poland: 75
5. Latvia: 70
6. Greece: 69
7. Lithuania: 67
8. Hungary: 64
9. Cyprus: 62
10. Portugal: 58
11. Italy: 56
12. Czech Rep.: 55
13. Belgium: 54
14. Slovakia: 51
15. France: 51
16. Slovenia: 50
17. Austria: 47
18. Luxembourg: 42
19. Finland: 42
20. Malta: 41
21. Spain: 39
22. Germany: 39
23. Estonia: 36
24. Ireland: 33
25. Netherlands: 31
26. Denmark: 30
27. United Kingdom: 28
28. Sweden: 25

Source: European Commission

Insurance

  • Obligatory insurance

In Denmark, liability insurance for cars that drive on public roads is obligatory. 

This insurance must cover the risk of the owner and/or user of the vehicle cause injury to other persons. Often, passengers will be able to get compensation for injury fron the vehicle's liability insurance.

However, the standard obligatory liability insurance does not cover any damage to the belongings of either the holder or user of the policy, nor of the driver. 

  • Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive car insurance of the car itself is an additional option, voluntary in most cases. However, if the car is acquired via a loan or is bought on instalment, the insurance company may require comprehensive insurance. 

Comprehensive insurance in principle covers any damage to the vehicle, plus theft. However, it does not cover damage due to lack of maintenance (e.g. rust) or due to mechanical failure. 

The price of vehicle insurance is determined by, among other factors, the type, weight, and price of the vehicle; and by the policy holder's own driving record (length of driving experience, amount of time driven without accident, etc.) Some insurance companies also factor in age and gender, and even your address or professional occupation. 

In case of non-payment of vehicle insurance, the police may withdraw the relevant vehicle's licence plate. Persons who cause damage or injury while driving uninsured are liable for the entire amount. 

Source: borger.dk

Telematics

The use of telematics in Denmark is widely accepted, and is widespread both in commercial fleets and for public projects. Sometimes, both public and private sectors collaborate on projects. 

For example, in February 2019, it was announced that rental car company GreenMobility would install sensors in all 400 of its cars to collect data on road usage. The aim is to help prevent road damage and make roads safer.

The sensors are installed in the shock absorbers, where they detect unevenness, gaps, friction and minor damage to the road surface. By detecting (and then repairing) road damage at an earlier stage, it will be possible to save money and time on road maintenance. 

The project, which has a run-time of 3.5 years, is a collaboration between GreenMobility, the Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet), technical university DTU and engineering company Sweco. 

Since GreenMobility cars only drive in the Greater Copenhagen area, that is the current limit of the project; but it may be extended to the rest of the country by working with different partners. 

Source: TV2

Chapter 10: Environment

Denmark is a very environmentally-conscious society. Not all 'green' measures have met with unequivocal success. The new minority government led by the Social Democrat party has stated that it wants the country to become a 'grøn stormagt' ('green superpower'). Such high ambitions may translate into a set of concrete measures in a specific 'green deal' to be concluded in the months to come. 

Biomass

In a 2012 agreement between Danish political parties, it was determined that Denmark should shift from coal to more sustainable energy sources – in first instance, biomass. This shift has helped Denmark achieve its CO2 reduction commitments. 

However, some instances question the green credentials of biomass (i.e. wood chips, wood pellets, etc.) Denmark maintains that 
– the biomass comes from forests that are replanted;
– biomass produces 90% less CO2 than oil or gas; and
– Denmark will have emitted at least 7.4 million tonnes of CO2 less from 1990 to 2020 thanks to biomass.

Meanwhile, the Danish energy generating industry is aware that biomass is a transitional energy source, and is investing strongly in other renewable solutions, such as geothermal and solar energy, etc. 

Source: Information.dk

Electric mobility

Thanks to a specific set of tax breaks, Denmark was one of the world's leaders in electric-vehicle sales until the end of 2016. After that, those fiscal incentives were phased out, which resulted in EV sales dropping by 60% in Q1 2017. 

From a total of 5,000 registrations in 2015, just 700 new EVs were sold in Denmark in 2017. Despite talk of reintroducing the tax breaks, this has not yet happened, and EV sales have yet to recover to their peak earlier in the decade. 

Source: Fleet Europe

 

  • On 1 January 2019, 99.4% of all cars on Danish roads ran on fossil fuels. 

Source: Danmarks Statistik

  • In 2015, 2.3% of all newly registered cars were pure electric or hybrid. In 2018, that figure had dropped to 2.1%
  • In all, just 16,100 (0.9%) of the 1.84 million new cars registered since 2009 aren't powered by petrol or diesel. 

Source: Danmarks Statistik

Chapter 11: Mobility

Car usage

Only 33% of Danes uses their vehicle every day of the week. And 15% uses their vehicle one day a week or less. 

Source: Santander Consumer Bank – Rapport: Danskernes biløkonomi 2019 

MaaS

MaaS technology has the potential to increase the efficiency of public transport while reducing individual need for automobiles.

One oft-cited example is Whim, an app by MaaS Global, which debuted in Helsinki and is now being rolled out in several other cities throughout Europe.

Less well known is MinRejesplan, the app for Rejseplanen, the major app for travel planning in Denmark. Like Whim, it has the functionality of booking door-to-door trips by reserving multiple transit modes (cars, bikes, buses, trains, etc.) to complete a journey.

European think tank ERTICO thinks these kinds of MaaS solutions can eventually cut transit costs in half. 

Source: Forbes
 

Chapter 12: Key trends to watch