Editor's choice
11 Oct 19

Vinzenz Pflanz, Sixt SE: “Customers must be brave, and go digital”

As a major player on the European Fleet and Mobility scene, Sixt SE is a natural fit as sponsor for the European Fleet and Mobility Manager of the Year at this year’s Fleet Europe Awards (6 November at the Fleet Europe Summit in Estoril, Portugal). Vinzenz Pflanz, President of Corporate Sales at Sixt SE, is looking forward to the event – but has an interesting take on the importance of innovation: “It’s not just a job for suppliers, it’s also up to their customers.”

In your opinion, what’s the top trend in Fleet and Mobility Management in Europe today?

“We see two things.”

  • “On the one hand: flexible, short-use mobility products. These include Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS for short), flat rates, and subscription models that go hand in hand with digitalisation.”
  • “On the other hand: digitalisation itself, and then especially when it comes to booking and invoicing processes.”

It’s important to transition from Fleet Management to Mobility Management. That’s the oft-repeated refrain. But why is that so?

“About a century ago, the German Emperor Wilhelm II said: I believe in horses; the automobile is a temporary phenomenon. Of course, he was wrong. And today, we’re at a similar crossroads. It would be a big mistake to say: We believe in cars. Other mobility alternatives are a temporary phenomenon. So, making the transition from Fleet Management to Mobility Management is important in order to stay relevant in the Mobility market.”

What’s driving this transition?

“Behavioural changes, environmental needs and infrastructural constraints.”

  • Firstly, Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2015, Ed.) is about to reach market maturity, and their attitude towards Mobility is even more diversified than Generation Y (a.k.a. the Millennials, born between 1980 and 1994, Ed.) Company cars are just a small fraction of the entire mobility mix. So we need to diversify.”
  • “Secondly, in light of the ongoing environmental debates, we need to find sustainable solutions. One such solution is to have a more diverse Mobility mix, one that doesn’t just equal company cars.”
  • “And finally, as traffic jams in city centres keep increasing, the calls to change the mobility mix are growing louder: from this perspective as well, we need less cars, and alternatives that are cleaner, greener and smarter.”

For now, most customers are looking to optimise their Fleet and Mobility Management. How is Sixt supporting that demand?

“Via continuous digitalisation. For Mobility, we’ve developed the Sixt App:”

  • “The app integrates rental, car-sharing, ride-haling and e-scooter services – all in one place. It’s no longer necessary to switch to other apps. We’re currently linking rail services to the app.”
  • “It’s convenient for travellers, saving them from hidden costs – losing time in the queue at the car rental office, for example. The app literally offers ‘mobility out of one hand’.”
  • “Key elements of the app include: the fact that the rental car’s entire value chain is digitalised; fast-lane access to the Sixt car-pool at the destination, including the ability to select an exact model and skip the counter; a virtual implant at the customer’s location; on-demand or pre-booked rides; and multibrand, unfenced sharing, from 1 minutes up to 27 days.”

“And for Fleet Management purposes, Sixt Mobility Consulting has released the Companion App:”

  • "This app sends push notifications when it’s time for tire changes, maintenance appointments, driver licence checks and even ordering a new vehicle.”
  • “The app’s entire service portfolio is fully digitalised.”

Turning to the Fleet Europe Awards, what are you looking forward to see the candidates focus on this year?

“We would like our customers to be brave and take the step towards more digitalisation. Many are talking about it, but the ‘first movers’ are few in number. Improving Mobility is not just a job for suppliers, who are constantly developing new solutions. It’s also up to their customers, who need to invest in adopting and implementing these innovations.”

More information and registration details about the 2019 Fleet Europe Summit & Awards on 6 and 7 November can be found here


Authored by: Frank Jacobs