Last modification: 9 Jun 18

Thanks the contribution of Jose Luis Criado-Perez, Mobility Consultant, Spain. 

Chapter 1: Economic and business environment


 Population on Jan 2018 was estimated at 46.7 million (including 4.6 million foreigners).
This represents 9.1% of total EU.


Madrid (3.2M) (urban area 6.2M)

Major cities

Barcelona (1.6M) (urban area 4.6M)

Valencia (0.8M) (urban area 1.5M)

Sevilla (0.7M)

Zaragoza (0,7M)

Bilbao (0.4M)





GDP (PPP):  $ 1.69 trillion (2016)

GDP per capita (PPP): $ 36,300

Unemployment rate

16.7% (April 2018)

Main industries

Tourism, automobiles and vehicles parts, machinery, machine tools, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles and apparel, food and beverages.



Interest rate

Euribor (May 2018 : -0.189%)

Political key info

Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy

Member of EU since January 1986

Member of Schengen area

Part of the Euro zone

17 autonomous regions with a high degree of self-government.


1.1% (2017)

Chapter 2 : Automotive market, segments & sales

Total Car park

Total number of vehicles: 34 M

- Cars: 23.7M, Electric: 14,842

- LCV: 4.56 M

- Trucks > 3.5T: 0,5 M

- Motorcycles and scooters: 5.2 M


Average age: 12 years


* December 2017

New vehicle registrations (Cars, LCV, Trucks)

Total registrations: 1,749,157 vehicles (electric: 12,853 units)

- Cars: 1,234,931 units. (electric: 7,067 units)

   Diesel                            48,3%

   Petrol                            46,6%

   Hybrid & Electric         5,1%


- LCV: 198,821

- Trucks > 3.5T : 13,746 units

- Motorcycles and scooters: 175,343


* End of 2017 data

Top 5 brands (total market)

1. Renault: 101,503 cars

2. SEAT: 94,461 cars

3. VW: 89,602 cars

4. Peugeot: 87,732 cars.

5. Opel: 86,921 cars


*End of 2017 data

Model preference top 5 (total market)


Seat Leon: 35,316 cars.

Seat Ibiza: 33,757 cars.

Reanult Megane: 32,131 cars.

Citroen C4:30,880 cars.

Renault Clio: 28,868 units

* End of 2017 data

Dealer network (including fleet dealer network)

- 3,686 car dealers in total, including multi-brand dealers.

- 2,087 independent car dealers.

Used car market/renewal cycle

Second hand transfers in 2017:

Cars: 2,8 M

LCV: 0.5 M

Trucks: 0.03 M


Tenure of first owner of cars is estimated at 7 years

Chapter 3: Company car market

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

Total Company cars fleet: 1.6 M

Of which 0.55 M are in Full Service Leasing, called ‘Renting’ is Spain.

New car sales to companies (2017): 370,442 cars (30% of total). Out of which 248,602 in Full Service Leasing (Renting).

Evolution fleet sales (last 5 years)

New vehicles sales to companies:

2017:  370,442 cars + 173,567 LCV’s

2016: 328,000 cars + 152,000 LCV’s

2015: 283,000 cars + 131,000 LCV’s

2014: 216,000 cars + 93,000 LCV’s

2013: 190,000 cars + 70,000 LCV’s

Top 5 fleet brands (fleet market)
  1. Renault

  2. VW 

  3. Peugeot

  4. AUDI

  5. FORD 

Fleet Model preference top 5 (fleet market)
  1. Renault Kangoo
  2. Renault Megane
  3. Renault Clio
  4. Nissan Qashqai
  5. Seat Leon

Chapter 4: Taxation & legislation

4.1. Car Taxation

All new car sales are taxed at the moment of registration with:

-  VAT. Presently at 21%

-  Registration Tax. This non-recoverable tax is in relation with the CO2 emissions of the car and is a percentage of the sale invoice amount, as follows:


From 0 to 120 gr/km:       0% tax

From 120 to 160 gr/km:   4.75% tax

From 160 to 200 gr/km:   9.75% tax

Over 200 gr/km :              14.75% tax


  • Road Tax. This is a municipal yearly tax referred to the registration address of the vehicle. The registration address is normally the owners (or lessors) address.

This yearly tax varies according to the fiscal power of the vehicle. As an example, major cities like Madrid and Barcelona charge from € 20 to € 220 per year, depending on the vehicles fiscal power.


4.2. Income tax – Taxable persons


The use of a company car for private use is considered a benefit in kind and should be taxed as income to the employee.

By default, tax authorities accept that company cars are used 50% for private use, and therefore accept recoverability of 50% of the VAT by companies.

If the vehicle is used for corporate purposes above 50% up to 100%, the equivalent % of VAT becomes recoverable, but it should be justified.


4.3. Company car


The use of a company car for private use is considered a benefit in kind and should be taxed as income to the employee.

By default, tax authorities accept that company cars are used 50% for private use, and therefore accept recoverability of 50% of the VAT by companies.

If the vehicle is used for corporate purposes above 50% up to 100%, the equivalent % of VAT becomes recoverable, but it should be justified.


4.4. Income taxes – drivers’ personal taxation


Private use of a passenger car should be declared and is considered a taxable income.

For sales force vehicles it is normally accepted to consider that the private use is negligible, so no benefit in kind is recognised.

For management cars, especially when premium cars are involved a 2/7 of private use is normal practice.

However, it is advisable that the same principle used for the VAT recovery is used for the private use measuring.


4.5. Electric vehicles


Electric vehicles are also taxed according to the table of point 4.2

Therefore, they pay VAT when purchased, no registration tax and the road tax varies from city to city. However, most cities offer discounts in the yearly road tax to electric vehicles.

Alternative fuel cars, including EV, have a subsidy from the government on the purchase price. The total amount of the subsidy is limited and the amount per car which is variable over time.


4.6. Future developments


The subsidy on vehicles with alternative fuels, is expected to continue for a few years, even probably with a diminishing amount.


4.7. Legal background (import taxes)

The level of cars imported from outside the EU used by fleets is negligible.

Chapter 5: Car policies

5.1 Company car entitlement

 The title of the car lies with its owner. Therefore, if the company car is leased, its title and ownership lie with the leasing company.

If the car is owned by the company, its title lies with it.

In the case of mileage or other type of allowance for the use of an employee private car, is the only case when the title lies with the employee.

When the employee lives in a restricted parking area of the city, as the title lies with the lessor, the city requires a document stating that he is the exclusive driver of the vehicle.


5.2 Sectors

Which sectors provide most fleet cars?

Chemical and Pharma

Transport and Communications

Food, beverages and tobacco industries.

Electricity, gas, water and other utilities.

Maintenance and security services.

Professional services


5.3 Job functions

Which job functions often include a company car

In this definition of company car, we do not include LCV’s.

The use of company cars by a company is normally based on two criteria, function and hierarchy.

Related to function, sales forces and staff involved in commercial activities and customer care, are the most common users of company cars.

Professional services firms, where the service is provided at the client´s premises are also company car users.

From the hierarchy criteria, top management of companies are normal users of company cars, being more so in international companies and bigger local corporations.


5.4 Reference cars

Which reference car(s) is given to:

The type of cars used for different levels varies significantly among industries. However, common examples of cars used for different levels are:

Entry/junior sales level: Renault Megane, VW Golf

Senior sales / management level: Opel Insignia, VW Passat

Executive level: BMW 3/4 series, Audi 4/5, Mercedes-Benz C/E Class

Chapter 6: Funding methods

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

Since the arrival of full service leasing (called ‘Renting’ in Spain), in 1985, its penetration has grown to the very dominant position that it enjoys today. The concept of outsourcing the fleet to a specialist has started initially with international and bigger national companies, but today it has spread to a lot of SME’s and even individual professionals.

Today, over 80% of the bigger corporate fleets in Spain are outsourced in full service leasing.

Funding methods

Of the total passenger cars and LCV’s sales to companies (2017) the breakdown of funding methods is

Full service leasing      46%

Financial lease 17%

Others                           37%

It is worth noting that as a general rule, the bigger the corporate fleet is, the more likely the chosen method would be full service leasing.

Financial lease is the most popular method for heavy trucks owned by transport companies. In these cases the fleet is managed in-house.

Suppliers  (captive versus multibrand, international versus local…)

All the international players in full service leasing are present in the Spanish market, with the main international players (LeasePlan, ALD and Arval) as the top three local players. Other international players present are: Alphabet, Athlon, Northgate, Fraikin and Enterprise.

Not considering Athlon (Daimler Benz) and Alphabet (BMW) as real captives, the main captive companies active in the Spanish market are: VW Financial Services, Overlease (Renault), Leasys (FCA), Toyota and Hyundai.

Local banks have developed full service leasing companies that have become relevant players in the past. However, many of them have exited the market or outsourced services to specialist. Main players among banks are Santander, BBVA, Sabadell and Caixa.

Players active in the market are members of the local leasing association, called Asociación Española de Renting, AER (


6.1 Outright purchase

Outright purchase of passenger cars and LCV´s is not commonly used by bigger companies. It is used by smaller companies, especially when they experience difficulties accessing credit.

It is however, still the most popular system used by private individuals.

With outright purchase, both the ownership and the title of the vehicles are held by the individual or company buying the vehicle.


6.2 Finance Lease

Finance lease is the second most popular funding system used by companies to acquire cars and LCV’s fleets, with 17% penetration.

It is however, the most popular method for the acquisition of heavy trucks and trailers.

With finance lease the ownership of the vehicle lies with the lessor, but the title and if applicable, the transport licence lie with the lessee.

Finance lease contracts can only be offered by a regulated financial institution. Minimum term is 24 months and there is a purchase option at the end of the contract.

Business practice for contract terms are 36 to 48 months for light vehicles and 48 to 60 months for heavy trucks. The purchase option is usually nominal and equivalent to one monthly instalment or 1%.


6.3 Full service leasing (operational leasing)

Full service leasing, that in Spain is called ‘Renting’, has similar features than in most EU countries.

Both the operational and the economic risk of the vehicle remain with the leasing company. Open end contracts, like the typical US contract, is negligible in the Spanish market.

Full service leasing includes funding, registration, M&R, taxes, road assistance, insurance and replacement vehicle.

A characteristic of the Spanish market is that full coverage insurance is included as part of the service in over 90% of the cases.

Fuel services is an option offered by most leasing companies, in competition with fuel companies.

Telematics, at different levels, is offered by most leasing companies.


Full service leasing purchases of new vehicles represent 17.5% of the total sales of light vehicles. The distribution of fleets in full service leasing, by type of company is the following:

Type of Client of the full service lease market

Type of Client

% of Total Fleet

Fleet (units)

% Growth 2017/2016

Big Companies








Government Bodies




Private Lease









6.4 Fleet Management

Fleet Management companies aim at providing a full outsourcing service of the fleet, with the exception of funding. However, fleet management companies do not offer bearing the operational nor economical risks of the fleet.

Clients of fleet management companies, mostly lease their vehicles with multiple full service leasing companies and hire a fleet management company as a ‘supplier manager’ as well as a fleet cost controller.

Services include fleet reporting consolidation, meaning consolidating the reporting tools of the various leasing companies; invoice checking, auctioning among leasing companies of new vehicle contracting, as well as analysis and consulting services. In some cases, they offer a central point of contact for drivers, who are then redirected to the corresponding leasing company.

A fleet management company does not hold the property nor the title of the car, which lies with the leasing companies. Penetration of fleet management is low and even less so among larger fleets. It is not applicable for companies with a single supplier policy and most users are within the small and mid-size fleets with a multi-supplier policy.


6.5 Short term rental

Tourism is one of the major industries in Spain and therefore, short term rental is an important industry. Many short term rental companies, especially the smaller ones based on coastal areas, have their focus on the holiday rentals and not on corporate business.  A car purchased by short term contracts is exempted from paying the registration tax (see point 4.1). From a legal point of view, a short term renting contract has a maximum duration of three months. If a vehicle is rented for more than three months to the same client, it would be considered a long term rental contract and that vehicle would have to pay registration tax.

All international players are present in the Spanish market, like: Europcar-Goldcar, Avis-Budget, Hertz, Enterprise and Sixt. Most players offer long term rental on demand with various levels of proactivity and low penetration in their fleets.

Short term rental companies are important partners of full service leasing companies as suppliers of replacement vehicles for their fleets.

Also short term rental companies are clients of full service leasing companies for funding purposes.


6.6 Other funding methods

- Novated lease : not been developed in Spain.

- Private lease: The definition of private lease in Spain would have to include autonomous professionals that use vehicles for professional and mixed professional/private use, as well as individuals that lease a car purely for private use. Leasing a car only for private use is purely a convenience and service related choice, as it has no fiscal benefit.

In the last few years, private lease has grown significantly and has become a growing share of the fullservice leasing companies. However, it varies within lessors as their focus on this market varies.

Chapter 7: Fuel

Fuel type segmentation

Like in most Western Europe, diesel has been the favourite type of fuel in Spain for many years. 2016 was the first year where, due to environmental concerns, the share of diesel cars slightly decreased in new registrations.

Out of the 23.7 Million passenger cars on Spanish roads (December 2017), the breakdown by type of fuel is the following:


Fuel Type

Cars on the road

% of total


13.5 M



10.1 M



0,014 M



0.1 M



If we consider the almost 1.43 Million new registrations of light vehicles (passenger cars + LCV’s) during 2017, the breakdown by fuel type was as follows:


Fuel type


Units x 000’s


















If we consider the full service vehicles delivered to fleets in 2016, the breakdown by fuel type is as follows:

Fuel type


Units x 000’s
















Market share by fuel type evolution (Source: JATO)


Year     Diesel  Alternative Fuel           Gasoline

2008     70%      0,3%                                 29%

2016     57%      2,5%                                 45%

2017     50%      4,3%                                 45%

Fuel Price Evolution

The evolution of the fuel price in Spain in the last few years have been as follows:

Fuel type

2012 (€)

2013 (€)

2014 (€)

2015 (€)

2016 (€)

2017 (€)

Petrol 95















Fuel Infrastructure

Regarding the infrastructure in conventional fuels, throughout Spain there are over 11,000 service stations.

The main fuel suppliers are:

Repsol :  3,550 stations.

Cepsa:     1,520 stations.

BP:              630 stations.

Galp:          575 stations


Fuel card solution

All fuel suppliers offer fuel cars solutions with different levels of price discount for bigger fleets, which vary from 1% up to 4%. International fuel card suppliers, such as DKV, are present in Spain. Their penetration is higher in the heavy truck transport segment.

Full service leasing companies, normally in partnership with one or more fuel suppliers, also offer fuel card services as part of their product offering. Normally these type of cards offer more analytical and control tools for fleets.


Chapter 8 : TCO components

Most important cost factors in TCO

TCO in Spain does not vary significantly in their components from the other EU major markets. However, being the average fleet car somewhat smaller than in other markets and the fuel cost (diesel) between 10% and 15% cheaper, its absolute figure is somewhat lower than in the major European markets.

The average purchase cost of a fleet car in Spain during 2017 was € 19,000 (excluding VAT).

 An average breakdown of the TCO components would be as follows:













Road Tax


Management Costs




Replacement Vehicle



Maturity of TCO usage

Not differently from the rest of the major markets, TCO has become an essential tool when leasing a vehicle or choosing a full service leasing company as supplier.

As a consequence of the recent crisis, that affected Spain harder and longer than other EU countries, the choice almost exclusively of the lowest price has become the common practice. And TCO or in fact, the lease instalment has been the defining criteria when choosing a lease supplier.

Interestingly enough, like in most major markets worldwide, companies that through their procurement departments have become so defining on the fleet acquisition to the lowest bidder, do not follow up TCO evolution during the life cycle of the fleet.


Chapter 9: Safety, insurance and telematics

Accident rate and evolution

Mortal traffic accidents in Spain and its evolution, is one of those positive stories that should be used more as an example of how death rates can be reduced by a combined social and administrative effort:

The reduction in the number of deaths by car accidents is shown in the following table:


Mortal victims on roads

Mortal victims in cities



















Main reasons quoted for these improvement are, a significant infrastructure improvement, a very strong educational campaign, as well as an increase on road controls, fines and a system of points for the driving licence. If we compare with other EU countries in terms of deaths per 1M habitants, in the last twenty years, Spain consistently has improved to becoming among the best third, above countries with better road infrastructure and a younger car park.


EU Country

Deaths by 1M habitants (2016)

Malta (best)


Spain (7th)


EU-28 (average)





In terms of number of accidents the evolution has been mixed and differently on the roads than in the cities. The increasing use of bicycles in the cities has had an impact in the accidents in cities.


Accidents on Roads

Accidents in cities








Insurance offers (calculation) and suppliers

Regarding car insurance offering, there are over 50 insurance companies that offer their services in Spain. These number includes all the major international companies, like AXA, Zurich or Allianz as well as the bigger local companies like Mapfre or Mutua Madrileña.

As well as these companies, bigger banks like Santander, BBVA or Caixa also offer insurance services.

As in most markets, car insurance is also offered online at discounted prices, which is especially popular in the retail market.

Fleets utilizing full service leasing, generally use the insurance offered by their leasing companies, which besides being competitive, and highly reduces controversies when returning the car. With several operators, insurance is a compulsory feature of the service.

Full service leasing companies, sometimes use as a partner a local insurance company. The international operators are generally self-insured for casco and have their own captive companies for TPL.

In terms of products, TPL is compulsory in Spain. A full coverage insurance is still very popular within fleets, normally with no deductibles but with a bonus-malus scheme.


Telematics availability

Regarding telematics services, as in all markets we should differentiate passenger cars with LCV’s.

For LCV’s fleets, telematics is highly developed and many fleet users use it as part of their business operations. All major leasing companies offer these services, as well as independent suppliers, both local and international.

For passenger cars, the story is very different. Privacy regulations in Spain are very strict with the utilization of data. Major leasing companies offer this service and some are actually installing the “box” in all registered cars and connecting it only when the clients accepts the service.

The actual use of telematics services in passenger cars, is still quite limited to very basic data, due to the privacy regulations.


Chapter 10: Environment

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

The registration tax on new cars is related to the level of CO2 emissions and these criteria is not foreseen to change in short term. Also, the annual road tax charged by municipalities is partially related to emissions.

Madrid was the first Spanish city to impose traffic restrictions when the level of pollution reached a certain level. These restrictions are on three levels:

1st level, reduction of the maximum speed in the city ring (M-30) from 90 to 70 km/hr.

2nd level, prohibition to park anywhere in the city, within the M-30 city ring. Residents are allowed to park within their area of residence.

3rd level, prohibition to access the city (within the M-30 city ring) to half the vehicles, depending on the number of their registration plate. This prohibition is from 06.30 hrs to 21.00 hrs. Exceptions to this rule are public transport, EV’s, hybrids and vehicles for handicapped.

Barcelona has announced also a traffic restriction protocol to be implemented whet the pollution levels reach a certain level. This will become effective from 1st December 2017.

The novelty is that is will also restrict vehicles because of age. Cars registered before 1997 and vans registered before 1994.

CO2 figures availability

Following EU regulations, all vehicles registered, for years now, have to declare their level of emissions and are taxed accordingly. All running vehicles have been classified in categories related to their emissions. These categories are used for existing road tax and for future restrictions and regulations.

Green vehicles (new powertrains)

The usage of hybrid vehicles has increased over the years and still does. However, as the government subsidies are being reduced the decision to use a hybrid vehicle becomes more TCO related. On the other hand, the offering by almost all OEM’s of hybrid versions of their models has helped.

Electric vehicles enjoy a higher level of subsidies, but it is still unreliable as it is updated on a yearly basis by the government. The total running fleet of electric vehicles in Spain is 10,400 units. EV´s, besides economical subsidies, enjoy in most cities circulation advantages, like free street parking and permission to circulate on the bus lane.

However, the main disadvantage, besides the economical ones, are the lack of recharging infrastructure. In total Spain has a little over 3,300 charging stations. However, their distribution is misleading and in almost half the cases are not open for the public, such is the case of hotels, restaurants, camping and garages. Below the link to a map of the recharging stations throughout Iberia.






Chapter 11: Mobility

Traffic conditions

Overall, traffic conditions are improving throughout the country. Public transport is a real alternative to private cars, especially in the major cities. And compared with other European bigger cities, public transport is quite affordable.

However, the centre of Madrid and Barcelona are over congested and there is a trend to increase pedestrian areas.

The increase of bicycle and scooters usage, both municipal and private has been very relevant. The negative side has been the increase of traffic accidents in the cities.


Mobilty conditions for employees

Most companies that offer company cars are analysing alternative mobility solutions. However, the company car is seen as a real benefit by the drivers and there is a reluctance to let it go.

Major leasing companies offer plans to improve the mobility mix, however, they are seriously considered only when it can bring savings without annoyance of the employees.


Mobility solutions (car sharing, taxi, Uber, carpooling…).

Public transport in Spain is among the best in Europe and relatively cheap.

International car sharing operators are present in Madrid and Barcelona, but still with a very low penetration. The total number of vehicles of car sharing companies in the country is around 1,500 vehicles.

Carpooling and ride sharing are also present but are not relevant for corporate drivers.

The Uber case has been difficult in Spain. A big resistance by taxi drivers and a not very efficient positioning by the parties, has delayed its deployment. Presently an agreement has been reached but does not seem a win-win solution. Therefore, it is not a real alternative for mobility yet.


Smart cities

Every city politician likes to talk about smart cities, but reality is much slower. So far, the main city regulations to help pollution or congestion has been through restrictions. Very little has been done in an active way. We expect this to change soon… Public transport within cities will probably be a first step in autonomous driving usage.

Chapter 12: Key trends to watch