Netherlands

Last modification: 17 Sep 19

Chapter 1: Economic and business environment

Demographics

17,134,703 inhabitants (July 2017)

Capital

Amsterdam

Major cities

Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Tilburg, Groningen, Almere, Breda, Nijmegen

Languages

Dutch

GDP

470bn euro (2016)

Unemployment rate

5.4% (Dec. 2016)

Main industries

The Netherlands has a developed economy and has been playing a special role in the European economy for many centuries. Since the 16th century, shipping, fishing, agriculture, trade, and banking have been leading sectors of the Dutch economy.
The Netherands has a longstanding history of invention, moving around the oceans of the world, trading with other countries.
Most important sectors: 

  • Agriculture and food
  • Creative industries
  • Chemicals industries
  • Energy
  • High tech
  • Horticulture
  • Live sciences & Health
  • Logistics
  • Water
Currency

Euro

Political key info

The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since 1815. Dutch politics and governance are characterised by an effort to achieve broad consensus on important issues.

The executive power is formed by the council of Ministers.

Inflation

0.3%

Chapter 2 : Automotive market, segments & sales

Total Car park

 8,336,000 (2016, source RDC)

New vehicle registrations (Cars, LCV, Trucks)

385,259 (2016, source RDC)

Top 5 brands (total market)
  1. Volkswagen
  2. Renault
  3. Opel
  4. Peugeot
  5. Ford
Model preference top 5 (total market)
  1. VW Golf
  2. Renault Clio
  3. VW Polo
  4. Opel Astra
  5. VW Up
Dealer network (including fleet dealer network)

Approximately 2,100 points of sale. Accoring to the Automotive Dealer holding Top 60, the 10 largest dealer groups have a market share in new sales of 33%.  

Used car market/renewal cycle

1,128,313 in 2016, a rise of 4.7% in comparison with 2015. In the first half of 2017, used-car sales declined by 1.8% while new car sales increased by 16.8%

Chapter 3: Company car market

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

140,722 in 2016, approximately 40% of new car sales. It was a heavy decline because of changing tax laws. In the first half of 2017, fleet sales increased with 40% to 87,751 vehicles; about 45% of the total new car registrations in the first half of 2017.

Evolution fleet sales (last 5 years)
2014  129,651
2015 184,839
2016 141,250

 

Top 5 fleet brands (fleet market)
  1. Volkswagen
  2. Renault
  3. Opel
  4. Skoda
  5. Peugeot

* (H1-2017)

Fleet Model preference top 5 (fleet market)
  1. Opel Astra
  2. Volkswagen Up!
  3. Volkswagen Golf
  4. Opel Karl
  5. Renault Megane

*(H1-2017)

Chapter 4: Taxation & legislation

4.1. Car Taxation

Owners of consumer vehicles in the Netherlands pay vehicle tax (motorrijtuigenbelasting or MRB), a tax for using a car on public roads. The MRB varies based on vehicle weight and its fuel type. The provinces add a surcharge (in %) to this vehicle tax, the so-called opcenten.

There is also a vehicle registration tax (belasting van personenauto's en motorrijwielen or BPM). Historically, this has always been a percentage of the car's list price but today it is based on the car's COemissions. Additionally, there has been a fixed 350 euro fee since 2017.

When importing a used car, people can use a BPM table to calculate how much they will need to pay. When exporting a car, similar tables determine how much BPM will be reimbursed as the BPM is based on the assumption that the car will stay in the Netherlands forever.

4.2. Income tax – Taxable persons

Everyone with a job is a taxable person. If you are an employee who uses his company car also for personal purposes, you have to pay a tax on benefit in kind (bijtelling). If you drive less than 500 kilometres a year for personal use, you don’t have to pay this bijtelling.

The benefit in kind tax rate depends on your income. Every lessee (the person driving the company car and paying the bijtelling) should add 22% of the car's list price to their income, resulting in a higher income tax. Only cars with zero emission pay 4% benefit in kind tax.

4.3. Company car

For company cars, lessees must add 22% of the car's list price to their income (bijtelling), resulting in a higher income tax. Only zero-emission cars have a bijtelling of 0%. Previously, there was a bonus for plug-in hybrids and hybrids. Since 2017, the bijtelling has been the same for every car. Whereas the Netherlands used to be a great market for hybrids like the Prius, these now pay the same amount of tax as conventional powertrains.

4.4. Income tax – drivers’ personal taxation

cf. 4.2 and 4.3

4.5. Electric vehicles

The Dutch government sticks by its decision to increase the ‘bijtelling’ (a tax on private use of company cars) on EVs to 8% in 2020, Automotive Magazine writes, citing “well-informed sources”. As of 17 September 2019, the news has not been officially confirmed.

If the decision follows previously discussed proposals, the ‘bijtelling’ for EVs will rise from 4% this year to 8% in 2020, 12% in 2021, 16% in 2022, 17% in 2025 and 22% in 2026. 

In a related measure, the cap on the ‘bijtelling’ will be lowered from €50,000 to €45,000, Automotive Magazine writes. EVs with a ticket price higher than those amounts will have a ‘bijtelling’ similar to fossil-fuel cars – i.e. a higher one. 

Combined, both measures will doubtlessly have a dampening effect on the adoption of EVs in the Netherlands.    

Dutch auto trade organisations are not against an increase per se but object to this one, which contradicts previous statements. This means that around 10,000 EVs ordered for delivery next year will be taxed at double the rate of ‘bijtelling’ than was expected. 

Source: Automotive

4.6. Future developments

All the tax regulations for cars are fixed until 2020. A new policy will be introduced after that date. Some lobbyists are pushing for the introduction of tax incentives for electric vehicles but these haven't been materialised yet.

4.7. Legal background (import taxes)

If you import a car, you have to pay the vehicle registration tax depending on the car's COemissions and its age. If you bought the car in an EU country, you don’t have to pay import taxes. If you buy a car from outside the EU, you have to pay both.

Chapter 5: Car policies

Company car entitlement

There a two types of entitlements: the company car as an employee benefit or as a necessary tool to do the job.

Which sectors provide most fleet cars?

IT services, defence, construction, accountancy.

Chapter 6: Funding methods

  • Overview of penetration of funding methods (buy or lease statement)

45% of all newly purchased cars are lease cars. In total there are 798,000 lease cars in the Netherlands. (Source: VNA, 2016)

1. Outright purchase:

  • Definition

The buyer is the owner of the car and pays the car with his own money.

  • Pros and cons

Pro: you decide everything yourself

Con: you are responsible for all risks

  • Economic & legal ownership

Both at the owner.

  • Business practices

Outright purchase is for consumers. Only a very small part of companies buy their cars. Vans are the exception as they are more frequently bought by companies than cars.

6.2 Renting (Finance lease)

  • Definition

A lease construction without the service. The lease company carries the risk of depreciation.

Pro: you don’t have to pay the car in once. You can save money on maintenance and insurance. 5% of all new leased passenger cars are financial leases.

Con: you are not the owner and you have to take care of maintenance yourself.

  • Economic & legal ownership

With financial leasing the leasing company is the legal owner and the customer of the lease company is the economic owner. At the end of the lease contract, the customer is the new owner of the car.

6.3 Full service leasing (operational leasing)

  • Definition

The purchase amount is paid by the leasing company. The customer pays monthly interest and repayment. In addition, you also pay an amount for maintenance, insurance and any other costs. 89% of all new leased passenger cars is an operational leasing contract.

  • Pros and cons

Pro: you don’t have to save money to buy a car

The cost of interest and amortisation is clear.

The monthly costs are clear and fixed.

Costs of maintenance and repair are included.

Con: you are not the owner of the car

You pay a high interest rate

  • Economic & legal ownership

The leasing company is and stays full owner of the car, even after the contract expiration.

  • Business practices

6.4 Fleet Management

  • Definition
  • Fleet management can include a range of functions, such as vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, vehicle telematics (tracking and diagnostics), driver management, speed management, fuel management and health and safety management. These functions can be dealt with by either an in-house fleet-management department or an outsourced fleet-management provider.
  • Pro’s and con’s

Pro: Fleet Management is a function which allows companies relying on transportat in business to remove or minimise the risks associated with vehicle investment, thus improving efficiency, productivity and reducing their overall transport and staff costs, providing 100% compliance with government legislation (duty of care).

Con: it takes a lot of time.

  • Economic & legal ownership

Everything is possible, depending on the lease

  • Business practices

6.5 Short term rental

  • Definition

Rental is always short term. But short term lease is for 3 up to 6 months.

  • Pros and cons

Pro: you can lease a car for employees working on project base, for exemple. You are not commited to a long-term contract.

Con: the price is higher than a long-term contract.

  • Economic & legal ownership

Mostly it’s an operational lease construction, cf. 6.3

6.6 Other funding methods

 - Private lease

Private lease is a booming business in the Netherlands. In 2016, the private lease market grew 78 percent (28,000 new private lease cars in 2016). The private lease fleet is now 64,000 cars strong.

The lease company is and stays the owner of the car. In most cases, it is an operational lease.

Chapter 7: Fuel

Fuel type segmentation

There is petrol - subdivided into euro 95, euro 98, E10 and Blue One, diesel and LPG. Electricity is not a fuel, but still…

Fuel price evolution

The price of a liter of petrol was 14 cents higher in January at €1.57 than in the same month last year. Electricity taxes increased by 33.7% while last year they dropped 55.6%.

Fuel infrastructure

The market for motor fuels has been in a declining trend for a long time due to the more sustainable growth of the fleet and the decrease in the number of kilometres. In border regions, the tax differences also affect petrol station operators.

In 2016 there were 4,184 fuel stations. 40% of all fuel stations in the Netherlands are owned by oil companies

Fuel card solution

There is a wide choice of fuel cards in the Netherlands. The best-known are: MKB Brandstof, Travelcard, Shell, Xximo, Multi Tankcard

Chapter 8 : TCO components

  • Most important cost factors in TCO

Insurance, maintenance, amortisation, taxes, interest, fuel costs, tyres, residual value

  • Maturity of TCO usage

High. The Netherlands is a very mature lease market.

Chapter 9: Safety, insurance and telematics

  • Accident rate and evolution

The number of road deaths has increased from 570 in 2014 to 621 in 2015 and 629 in 2016. Insurance companies blame the use of smartphones in traffic for this increase. Before 2014 there was a decline in the number of road deaths.

  • Security rate and evolution

An association of insurance companies lobbies for new traffic rules, more research and stricter surveillance.

  • Insurance offers (calculation) and suppliers

The three biggest car insurance companies in the Netherlands are: Achmea, Delta Lloyd and Nationale-Nederlanden. The total costs of damage (cars) in 2017 (January till August) was €851,892,678.30, an increase of 2,6% relative to January-August 2016: €830,346,074.00. The increase is due to bad weather.

  • Telematics availability

In the Netherlands there is a lot of interest in telematics and a lot on offer. There are several providers and it’s definitely a growth market. The biggest issue with telematics is the driver's privacy. The use of telematics in company cars (including vans) is an average of 8.3% (2016).

Chapter 10: Environment

  • Trends in taxation, legislation and city restrictions (CO2, diesel… )

The city centers of the big cities Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam ban non-environmentally friendly cars and vans. More cities are planning to introduce a so-called Milieuzone or Green Zone.

  • CO2 figures availability

CO2 emissions in the Netherlands in the first quarter of 2017 were 1.9 % higher than in the same quarter a year earlier. According to the first calculation, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.4 % in the same period. Major causes of the increase in CO2 emissions are the higher production of electricity companies and more transport movements in the transport sector.

  • 2016: CO2 emissions per year of new leased cars 101 grams/kilometres
  • 2015: CO2 emissions per year of new leased cars 92 grams/kilometres

This increase is due to changed government policy. The electric car had a benefit in kind tax rate of 0%. Plug-in hybrids went from 0% to 7% to 15% and now to 22%.

Green vehicles (new powertrains)

13% of the registrations of new passenger cars is an electric car or a plug-in hybrid.
The total amount of eletrics in the Dutch fleet is 1%.

Chapter 11: Mobility

  • Traffic conditions

Worldwide the Netherlands is in the top 3 countries with the best infrastructure.

  • Mobilty conditions for employees

If employees don’t have a company car, they can invoice there kilometres.It is not mandatory, but 19 cents/kilometre is exempt from VAT for the employer. A public transport card is also very common in the Netherlands. Moreover, Dutch people cycle to work in large numbers.

  • Mobility solutions (car sharing, taxi, Uber, car pooling…)

There are countless mobility solutions in the Netherlands: Uber, Snappcar, all leasing companies have mobility solutions.

  • Smart cities

The Netherlands doesn’t have smart cities yet, but the five biggest cities (Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Eindhoven) are working on a plan to become smart together.

Chapter 12: Key trends to watch