DACH: small dip but still a positive outlook
When looking at what we can expect for the DACH countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), the outlook is positive. The overall economy is still doing well, in spite of some economic indicators going down, and the fleet sector in particular should also continue to perform well.
Benjamin Kibies, Senior Automotive Analyst, Dataforce, points out that new vehicle registrations in 2018 were down compared to 2017. Nevertheless, that was more indicative of the all-time record reached in 2017 than of an underperforming 2018 as it was the third year with more than 800,000 new registrations.
After the introduction of WLTP in September 2018, registrations went down as carmakers like Renault, Volkswagen and Audi struggled to get vehicles type-approved. The numbers suggest people preferred to wait for cars to become available rather than switching to other OEMs. “We’re expecting a catch-up effect in the first part of this year,” said Mr Kibies, adding this will likely account for around 30,000 additional registrations.
“My current projection is 840,000 new True Fleet registrations in 2019,” said Mr Kibies.
Fleetcompetence is more cautious. Balz Eggenberger said: “Because of the uncertainty linked to the overcast economic climate in Germany, cost pressure for more and more sectors are likely to increase, resulting in an extended focus on saving initiatives.”
Austria had a particularly good 2018, recording the third best result in history with 341,068 new vehicles, said Mr Eggenberger. For the first time, more petrol vehicles (54%) were registered than diesel (41.1%).
The outlook for 2019 is uncertain as a tax reform has been announced.
According to Mr Eggenberger, 2018 was not a particularly good year for the automotive industry in Switzerland. Just under 300,000 vehicles were registered, a low number unheard of since 2010. The share of alternative drive systems was around 7%.
“Fleet managers are rather conservative in these three countries,” said Mr Kibies. “Our surveys show they’re not very enthusiastic about new powertrains and they expect unrealistic ranges of up to 600km for electric vehicles at no extra price. That’s not going to happen anytime soon.” Additionally, all three countries also lack extensive charging networks.
The Tesla Model 3, the Audi e-tron and the Mercedes EQC should help grow the percentage of electric cars but they will not reach mass volumes on the fleet market.
Fleetcompetence is expecting further local consolidations on the German fleet management market. In most cases, this will be linked to the integration of local companies into international networks.
The larger leasing provider market is not expected to undergo much change, although Hitachi has already announced its takeover of Maske.
Image: Brandenburg Gate, Berlin