Features
28 May 20

Sixt Mobility Club looks at lasting effects of COVID-19

“COVID-19 has certain parallels with fleet from 2008/09 financial crisis,” said Stuart Donnelly, Sr Director Group Corporate Sales at Sixt. The latest meeting of the Sixt Mobility Club he presided looked at the effects and actions of the coronavirus on fleet.

The Sixt Mobility Club is a Europe-wide pilot for corporates and drivers that want to look beyond the traditional leasing car for their mobility needs. Previous meetings were held in person but the May session was a virtual one because of the C word.

Around 30 participants, all responsible for fleet and/or mobility management in multinational companies, shared their experiences in dealing with the impact from COVID-19 on their company and on their job.

Some trends that were discussed:

  • Home office working was the default during lockdown. Many companies have expressed their intention to continue working from home at least some of the time, but it still remains to be seen how this will be put into practice.
  • Public transport, however important to improve air quality and congestion, is currently less favoured because of concerns over hygiene. Will this prove to be an accelerator for MaaS?
  • Car-free city centres. Across the world, governments are using COVID-19 to create pedestrian friendly city centres to encourage walking and cycling.

“The one thing that is inevitable is the financial impact the pandemic has had on the economy and the need to variabalise and reduce fixed costs,” said Mr Donnelly. “At the same time, a new needs analysis is necessary to question who really needs a car to do their job 100% of the time.”

Sixt Flat

Sixt Flat, a new flexible fleet subscription package that is already available in Germany and will soon be rolled out in other markets, could help combat the financial effects of COVID-19.

It is a flexible, all-inclusive subscription that provides drivers with premium vehicles for periods of 6 or 12 months at rates often lower than those of traditional leasing companies. It gives drivers an all-inclusive package with a choice between a fixed vehicle model featuring the latest equipment while fleet managers benefit from full cost control, avoiding a burden on the balance sheet because of IFRS16.

Exit lockdown

As more countries are leaving the lockdown, activities are picking up. Nevertheless, the pace and intensity of economic recovery is still uncertain and many participants agreed they were still looking for the best strategy to deal with the fall-out of this crisis.

Carmakers are expected to have delays delivering new vehicles, for instance, affecting availability of new lease cars. At the same time, extending existing leases can turn out to be more expensive than signing a lease for a new, more environmentally friendly vehicle.

A British participant expressed uncertainty about Brexit. The UK may have officially left the European Union, it is still far from clear what tariffs will apply to vehicles imported from the EU into the UK.

As difficult as the current situation may be, it may also be an opportunity to promote MaaS.

Image: Stuart Donnelly, Sr Director Group Corporate Sales at Sixt

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck