Research supporting the Fleet Manager’s decisions in Asia
Today we’re talking to Mr. Animesh Kumar. He’s the Associate Director for Automotive Consulting at Frost & Sullivan. We’re catching Animesh during his travels through South-East Asia, where he’s been visiting OEM’s and mobility suppliers in Malaysia and Thailand. Nevertheless, he has kindly made some time for GlobalFleet to answer questions about the automotive industry, mobility and the future of fleet management.
GF: The south-east Asian markets are all benefiting from a decent GDP growth, show increasing consumer confidence & are selling more and more cars. Although the number of cars per capita is still relatively low, we do see that most of the Asian capitals are heavily congested. More cars will mean more congestion. Do you think there’s a limit to the number of additional cars that can be sold in the south-east Asian market?
AK: In my opinion, though some countries have a high motorization rate - for example Malaysia - the cars per capita is not evenly divided among cities and regions. There are more cars in the bigger cities but there is still a large potential in smaller cities and towns. The larger cities, though are getting congested, do not have robust public transport infrastructure and hence there is a heavy dependence on personal cars.
Analysts have been talking about market saturation point but such analysis remains limited to certain cities and are not for any particular country or for the entire ASEAN region. The reason being, there is still a high potential in ASEAN but for tapping those opportunities, more markets have to open up and affordability in smaller markets will increase.
GF: Frost & Sullivan is rather uniquely positioned in its research on the South-East Asian automotive market. What type of customers are interested in the data & what do they do with it?
AK: Yes, you are right. We have a strong positioning across the world but are uniquely placed in the ASEAN region. Our research is highly rated amongst the stakeholders, which include automakers, policy makers, auto component companies, auto-finance and motor insurance companies, e-hailing companies, leasing companies, land transport authorities and so on.
Since we cover a broad range of topics like market specifics, policies and regulations, new technologies, best practices, mobility solutions, future outlook etc, there is something for every segment of clients. Our research, insights and recommendations are used for formulating short/medium/long term strategies.
GF: Why is your research important for the Asian Fleet Manager?
AK: Broadly, in our research, we talk about the future of mobility. We discuss that cars would cease to be products and would become a service and when that happens, EVERYONE will have to adapt. This will impact customer decision making, plans of the OEMs, usage of vehicles, vehicle segments and so on. A Fleet Manager needs to be on top of such trends.
At present, we are working on a research which talks about the impact of the growth of e-hailing as well as improvement of public transport infrastructure on OEM’s. Once such trends start to impact OEM’s, it would also have an impact on the decisions-making of Fleet Managers. We also track regulations like CO2 emissions, end of life vehicle policies, taxes and each regulation impacts the customers. Fleet Managers - in order to device better strategies - need to be on top of such insights.
GF: In your opinion, is there a real mobility offering in South-East Asia or is it just Grab and Uber?
AK: I would like to start by saying that e-hailing is just one component of smart mobility. For countries to have truly smart mobility solutions, they need to go beyond personal cars, taxis and e-hailing. For best results, e-hailing should be the option only for the first and last mile connectivity. Customers should be able to use multi-modal transportation in order to reach their destination in a fast and inexpensive manner. And it should be better for the environment and also solve problems that most large cities across the world are encountering - congestion and parking.
As far as e-hailing is concerned, Grab is certainly the market leader across the ASEAN region. It is either the market leader or at 2nd position in most markets. If we look at the e-hailing landscape in ASEAN, the two players who compete across all e-hailing markets (e-hailing is not available in every market) are Grab and Uber. But then there are local players. A good example is Indonesia - the biggest e-hailing market in ASEAN - where the local player 'Go-Jek' is the market leader.
There are smaller local players in each market. It must also be noted that e-hailing is also compelling traditional taxi operators to innovate and improve. They are joining hands with e-hailing companies and in some cases, they are adopting technologies to counter the growth of e-hailing. We already know that several companies are considering entering the ASEAN e-hailing market and the ecosystem is likely to be very different in long term.
GF: How can Frost & Sullivan’s data and research bring value to a corporate customer?
AK: Frost and Sullivan works with every stakeholder in the mobility space. We have the experience of working with OEMs, auto leasing companies, e-hailing companies, taxi operators as well as car rental companies and we know the strengths and limitations of each player.
We also do customer studies, especially for fleet owners who are conscious of the complexity of the ASEAN market. Our understanding of the mobility ecosystem has already contributed many times to the design of successful corporate strategies. We can help a corporate customer select the optimal solution for their requirements. We notice however that Fleet Managers rely essentially on the information provided to them by OEM’s and Leasing Companies. Although extremely valuable, there’s much more to strategy design than looking at today’s available solutions; the fleet ecosystem is changing, and the Fleet Manager needs to make future-proof decisions.
In order to position ourselves closer to the Fleet Manager, Frost & Sullivan has decided to partner up with Connector, a global Fleet Consultant. We provide the data, Connector translates it into advice. The alliance between professional research and specialised fleet advice is a novelty on the market and we know that it will contribute to better, more cost efficient and sustainable corporate strategies.
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