What to expect in 2024? Outlook and Forecast according to our Journalists
It's that time of the year again! As we bid farewell to 2023 and look forward to spending time with our families and friends during the holiday season, our editorial team have been crafting their outlook for 2024, under the umbrella of our central themes "Simplicity" and the "Road to Real Sustainability."
Beyond the commonly discussed 'sustainability' and 'technology,' our team of journalists foresees a significant evolution in the role of fleet managers. This shift is not solely due to the ongoing trend of centralization within companies but is also influenced by emerging technologies, evolving operational demands, and the escalating volume of accessible data at their disposal.
Furthermore, it is evident the sustainability landscape is maturing. Fleet managers are increasingly familiarizing themselves with the GHG Protocol and its associated complexities. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive is set to become an important agenda item, with the European Commission emphasizing the expectations on companies to deliver on their sustainability commitments.
The trend of consolidation within the supply chain, both in Europe and globally, persists. In 2023, two significant leasing companies became one, and thereafter, major fleet management companies also underwent consolidation. To fulfill commitments to shareholders and sustain growth, companies are exploring a strategic mix of automation, centralization, mergers and acquisitions (M&As), alongside organic expansion.
Enjoy the read of our journalists’ “Outlook 2024"
Alison Pittaway: New challenges, but also new tools
The job of fleet management today is nothing like it was 20 years ago, and 2024 will continue to be a transformative year with fleet managers transitioning and adapting like never before. On the bright side, they have an array of highly beneficial tools and technologies at their fingertips that enable them to advance key strategies effectively.
These include transitioning to EVs, managing electrification, investing in charging infrastructure, developing EV-specific route planning, and ensuring maintenance compliance. AI-powered predictive maintenance will continue to unveil itself with increasingly sophisticated powers. Data-driven insights and analytics will deliver route optimisation, reduced fuel consumption, and improved safety as the sector continues to integrate MaaS solutions into fleet management.
Download our e-Book “Benefitting from Fleet Data Consolidation” here.
Daniel Bland: Increased influence of taxation and electrification in LatAm
Efficiently managing total cost of ownership (TCO) is first and foremost in Latin America’s largest corporate vehicle market Brazil, but an increased focus on sustainability is expected next year. Although flex-fuel vehicles which accept both sugarcane-based ethanol and petrol play a major role in achieving ESG objectives, the entry of lower-priced electric vehicle (EV) models in 2024 will certainly influence fleet manager decisions.
Starting in January, the incremental return of EV import taxes will begin, and this will likely impede the entry of some models to some extent. However, local EV production is on the rise and much of it is due to Chinese OEMs offering models with lower sticker prices. Keep an eye on both Chinese automakers and others in 2024 as competition will be fierce.
Download or latest LatAm e-Book here
Frank Jacobs: Remarketing is tough, but opportunities exist
The remarketing industry is bracing itself for a difficult 2024. At the 2023 Fleet Europe Remarketing Forum in Lisbon past November, attendees were pessimistic about used EV prices, which have fallen considerably over the past years, with experts at best promising that they would plateau at that lower level. And that’s just one of many challenges facing the industry, two other ones being AI and sustainability. What does that mean for fleet managers?
It means a more pro-active relationship with EV residual values, which depend in large part on battery health. That is something fleets have an important role in maintaining, via correct charging and driving behaviour. It also means examining and seizing the opportunities presented by digitization, in particular in the defleeting stage. And in general, it means no longer treating the remarketing of fleet vehicles as an afterthought. The market may be tough, but it still presents plenty of opportunities for both the supply and demand sides of the used vehicle market.
Jonathan Manning: The year of genuine sustainability policies
If the European Commission achieves its aim, 2024 will be the year when greenwashing ends and genuine sustainability policies start. Next year marks the start of the EU-wide Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which will make it mandatory for large and publicly listed companies to report their corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Shareholders, customers and campaigners will be able to track year-on-year how companies perform in shrinking their GHG footprints. Fleet will be at the heart of these sustainability initiatives for many businesses, responsible for a significant share of corporate emissions.
So, expect more detailed focus on GHG monitoring and measuring, battery electric (not plug-in hybrid) strategies to accelerate for cars, and a heightened focus on how to make electric vans operationally viable and cost effective.
Müfit Y. Gökmen: Catch up with technology. Urgently!
Technology will be the ultimate test for fleet and mobility managers in 2024, no matter where they stand in their level of adaptation. Fleets that have already adapted to telematics, must resolve the increasing complexity of advanced technologies to move forward; those taking the first steps must increase their pace. Government incentives and strong partnerships may be crucial in the transition period to electrification.
Advanced solutions like data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation are becoming inevitable. Where the resources and skills are limited, outsourcing must be the option, and training of fleet personnel is critical. 2024 will be a breaking point for many fleet managers, some successfully improving their efficiency and some throwing the towel, overwhelmed by the complexity.
Piet Andries: E-LCVs, Solid-State and Hydrogen
Rather than surprise moves, the car market will proceed with the continued rollout of battery-powered models, as still a decent number of auto makers must expand their electric portfolio from just a few models to an extensive lineup. The keywords for product development will be cost control, affordability, and the shift to upcoming battery technologies like LFP, while the promised introduction of solid-state technology has been delayed for a few years. Also, the trend of weight taxations across Europe might spawn an idea or two about better of different packaged models.
The coming year will reveal itself as ever so important for light commercial vehicles, with a bigger wave of new zero emission models hitting the Western European market than in 2023. But it extends beyond electric drivelines, and the kickstart of private pilot projects with depot-based hydrogen refueling, it goes hand in hand with significant investments in connectivity services aiming at facilitating fleet operations while more tangible feedback will emerge on the effectiveness and reliability of the already operational electric LCV fleet. In the van category it’s all about conquest and rapid transformation in 2024. Whether this will succeed, remains a different story.
Download our e-Book “e-LCVs and e-Trucks: Trends 2023” here.
Steven Schoefs: Culture of Excellence and Sustainability
In 2024, supply chains pivot towards sustainability amidst ongoing economic and geopolitical challenges. Market consolidation continues but raises concerns about reduced competition and innovation, particularly in leasing and fleet management. Meanwhile, internationalization persists in corporate fleet management despite regional complexities, emphasizing the demand for centralized solutions.
Sustainability emerges as the main driver of fleet strategies, with businesses extending measures beyond electrification to meet environmental targets and comply with regulations. Automation, digitization, and the integration of AI gain prominence, enabling efficiency and sustainability improvements across Fleet & Mobility.
Amid talent scarcity, fostering strong relationships with partners and employees becomes crucial for organizational success. Cultivating a culture of excellence and sustainability emerges as a strategic imperative in navigating the evolving supply chain landscape of 2024.
Download or e-Book “Sustainable Procurement” here.
Yves Helven: Growth Moderation in APAC
Despite maintaining a good performance compared to other global regions, the growth trajectory in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) area is gradually decelerating to below 5%. This deceleration stems from various factors affecting the powerhouse economy of China, including the effect of the economic post-pandemic rebound, escalated debt levels, vulnerabilities in the property sector, and structural challenges such as an aging population.
Slower growth, even a few percentage points, significantly impacts corporate behavior. APAC fleet managers will have to implement stringent cost control measures, operate with prudence, and mitigate risks effectively. Furthermore, corporate sustainability mandates in the region necessitate increased investments in APAC fleets. This confluence of reduced financial resources and amplified costs will create a notable transformation in APAC fleet management strategies.
Download our e-Book “Your fleet in Asia Pacific” here.