17 mai 21

Tips to building your Latam fleet policy - Global Fleet Conference

With its varied level of fleet market maturities and legislative differences, Latin America can be somewhat inconsistent in terms of supply offerings and other regional fleet management approaches. However, there are ways to prepare yourself appropriately, according to Global Fleet Conference 2021 speakers.

Go to the Global Fleet Conference website to watch the Global Fleet Live Sessions and Regional Streams about Latin America on-demand

In Latin America, seeking cost efficiency through technology and education is one of the main priorities when aligning your global fleet strategy in the region, something that benefits both your company and employees.

Latin America Snapshot

Latin America and the Caribbean are made up of approximately 30 countries, covers both hemispheres and has five time zones.  It is predominately Spanish speaking, with the exception of Brazil which speaks Portuguese.  There are a few countries which use other languages, but they are quite small. The nominal (non-adjusted) GDP per capital averages in the range of US$12,000 per year and approximately one in five residents have a car.

Regarding car parks, Brazil has the largest fleet, followed by Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile. The best-selling automobile brands in the region is Chevrolet, followed by Volkswagen. In Brazil, the leading brands are Chevrolet (overall) and Fiat (Fleet) and n Mexico it is Nissan for both.  Among the best-selling models in Latin America are the Chevrolet Onix subcompact hatch and the Toyota Hilux pickup.

COVID-19 Impact

Latin America represents 8% of the world’s population but has suffered approximately 26% of reported COVID-19 deaths. Moreover, lockdown attempts and other measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus resulted in a 27% drop in car sales and a 25% fall in automobile production in 2020. 

GDP was also down by 8.1% on average last year. The situation is gradually improving though, and the 2021 forecast looks up for the year. 

Fleet Footprint

As of 2020, approximately 125 million light vehicles are in Latin America, of which 7 million are corporate (6% of the total market).  

Of this, some one million entail Full-Service Leasing contracts (15% of the corporate market). Non-funded fleet management contracts contemplate some 500,000 units, according to Pascal Serres (pictured left) who is Chairman of the Fleet LatAm Business Networking Group.

“As for new automobile registrations in 2020, a total of 4.3 million units were reported.  Of this, one million were corporate (20% of the total market) and some 200,000 of these contemplated Full-Service Leasing contracts (20% of the corporate market),” said Mr. Serres during a conference presentation.

Keep in mind that these numbers reflect the impacts of the Coronavirus health pandemic last year and that 2021 data is showing a comeback.

Regarding leasing and fleet management players, although there are many countries in Latin America, we will address the two with the largest fleet footprint in the region, Brazil and Mexico which make up nearly 70% of the market.

In Brazil, the main leasing and fleet management players are local, being Unidas, Localiza and Movida. As for Mexico, multinational Element Fleet Management leads in long-term fleet, followed by Casanova Renting (local), and LeasePlan (multinational).

The other countries are mainly led by local companies, some of which have partnered up with multinationals ALD Automotive or Arval through international alliance agreements.


Electric vehicle (EV) implementation is still quite low in Latin America. While Colombia led in 2020 with 3.2% of new vehicle sales being EVs, Mexico reported 2.6%, Argentina (1.1%), Brazil (1%), and Chile (0.8%).  While Colombia is more focused on full-electrics, Mexico is keen to having hybrids. Electrified public transportation is the focus in Chile.

Further implementation depends on state policies and tax incentives such as vehicle registration, VAT, toll booth and parking fees, traffic circulation restrictions, energy costs, and import legislation aimed more at benefiting electrification.

By 2025, multinational companies in the region are seeking to have 10% of their fleet electrified on average, according to a study by ALD Automotive.

“Although our focus on electrification is still a bit low, we do have corporate carbon reduction targets so we have implemented pilot programs and EV focus should rise over the short term. To prepare, we need to rethink the types of cars we will give to our employees in the future and consider the frequency of the car contracts,” said Pfizer Head of Fleet in Latin America, Karina Uribe. (pictured top)

Ms. Uribe manages 2,500 vehicles for the pharmaceutical company, most of which are in Brazil and followed by Mexico.

“In Brazil, companies are keen to focusing on the importance of environmental and social issues but keep in mind that ethanol is also a sustainable alternative there, said Localiza Fleet Solutions Managing Director Joao Andrade. (pictured top)

As public transportation lacks, a car is needed in Brazil. However, “car for use” instead of “a car to have” is a growing trend today, meaning ride hailing, car sharing, and other mobility solutions.  Helping with this transition today is telematics and other technologies, added Mr. Andrade.


Besides the awareness of using connected technology and telematics to improve corporate fleet efficiencies, support EV implementation, and push alternative mobility solutions, among the trends in Latin America are last-mile deliveries and other micro-mobility solutions.

“Those to look out for include traditional and electric bike and scooter sharing programs, delivery services via motorcycles or bicycles in dense urban areas, and even automated delivery bots and drones in the months to come,” said Fleet LatAm Editor Daniel Bland. (pictured top)

Tips to Aligning your Latam Policy

Among the complications in Latin America are non-consolidation of vendors, policy, and procedures, as well as cultural resistance. Much of the hurdles to address in the region are related to taxation and regulatory matters. There are many parameters to address, and a one size fits all attitude does not really apply to fleet.

Consolidating and standardizing your policy first requires flexibility, robust and constant communication, and collaborative efforts. Remember that the level of fleet maturity in the region is different than the global level. However, the conference has shown that fleet managers can accomplish better fleet efficiencies and cost savings through the regionalization and internationalization of their programs.

The first step in aligning your Latam policy entails speaking with HR and finance departments and other stakeholders and suppliers, according to Paula Diniz Oliveira (pictured right) who is Global Head of Fleet for animal healthcare pharmaceuticals company Zoetis.

“At the same time, identify the country with the best practices in the region, which in our case was Brazil,” Ms. Oliveira said during a Case Study presented during the conference.

Business cases should then be presented to stakeholders, followed by the execution of needed changes region wide, starting with countries that are more open to changes. Thereafter, align your policy with your corporate strategy and then work further toward supplier harmonization and streamlining. Finally, define Latam KPIs and measures that will help control costs and improve efficiencies.

As for aligning globally, among the focuses are reducing the number of suppliers, making longer term agreements, and preparing KPIs on a more global scale, said Ms. Oliveira who manages 3,200 vehicles globally.

One of the demands by fleet managers in the region is the need for technological solutions, according to Eduardo Bortotti (pictured left) who is Head of Facility Management and Corporate Mobility for energy company ENEL in Brazil.

Mr. Bortotti’s main objective is to assure high fleet availability, and this means the need for flexibility as his drivers frequently need to cope with hard to access areas and deal with various climate conditions. 

“I am seeking to learn more about how data science and AI can be used to help me find solutions. I also need to prepare for the transition from fleet management to mobility management,” said Mr. Bortotti who manages 3,223 vehicles in Brazil. 

“Among the main keys to harmonization is training and education for both fleet managers and suppliers...also choose a good technology partner all while paying attention to global policies,” said Brazilian training organization PARAR Executive Sérgio Jábali. (pictured top)

Latin America Takeaways  

During the conference, ALD Automotive also added some insight on the region and here are some of the takeaways of the day.
Latin America regional stream at Global Fleet Conference 2020 (copyright: Global Fleet)

“Remember that proper fleet management is not only about TCO (total cost of ownership) but about TCM (total cost of mobility). Fleet sustainability is not only about EVs, also consider alternative mobility such as electrified bikes and scooters. Finally, remember that telematics is key from a security standpoint.” Pilar Madeira (Head of Sales, International Key Accounts)

“Electrification is new in Brazil, but it could be good in terms of TCO, especially when it comes to providing hybrid vehicles for top executives. Carsharing could be a solution for longer trips (>30km) with the support of a mobile app. Other solutions we offer include taking advantage of multi-mobility options, having a mobility card, and making use of digital tools.” Alexandre Valadão (Commercial and Marketing Director, Brazil) 

“While car ownership interest is declining, interest in leasing is increasing. Although fleet managers have less flexibility and autonomy, they benefit by giving their company immediate cash injection into the core business, face less risk on future incidents like residual values, and have more peace of mind owing to fixed monthly payments and administration savings.” Kristine Gulbe (Customer Experience Director, Mexico)

“Traffic congestion is impacting mobility decisions. Bogota is facing the worse traffic in Latin America, followed by Lima, Mexico City, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro.  As such, bicycle sharing is an alternative mode being offered by municipalities as well as the private sector, and this is being led by the city of São Paulo and followed by Bogota.” Mauricio Serna (Commercial Director Colombia)

Go to the Global Fleet Conference website to watch the Global Fleet Live Sessions and Regional Streams about Latin America on-demand

Top Photo: Panel discussion on the secrets to fleet management success in Latin America (source: Global Fleet)

Authored by: Daniel Bland