13 Oct 22

Greatest fleet models of the past 25 years

In the quarter century that Fleet Europe advised and guided fleet managers all over the continent, a flood of car models shaped the landscape in corporate mobility. In this timeline, we select 25 iconic models that dominated the fleet charts.

1997 - Alfa Romeo 156picture of Alfa Romeo 156 year 1997

Thanks to a combination of innovative diesel technology, a wowing bodywork, and a compelling drive, the 156 reinvigorated the Italian brand. This compact executive possessed the x-factor and the right price to get corporate drivers out of their German sedans and station wagons.                                                                                                                                                


1998 - BMW 3 Series E46picture of BMW 3 serie e46 year 1998

The 3 Series takes a major leap just before the decade’s end. It remains a highlight in the legacy until today. A broad palette of engine options, an extraordinary mix between comfort and sportiness, and its iron-strong residual value gave it a “Most Wanted” label in corporate circles.



1999 - BMW X5picture of BMW X5 year 1999

Though rival Mercedes invented the SUV, BMW was the brand that put the concept on the road instead of next to it. A dedicated driving behavior, a fair portion of luxury, and a four-wheel drive for asphalt made it the exemplar that would make the genre so popular from then on.                                                                                                                           



2000 - Mini Hatchpicture of Mini hatch year 2000

Reviving the icon by matching its predecessor’s driving pleasure and style but upgrading it with a premium aura turned the Mini into a magnet for companies searching for young talent. BMW discovered the weak spot in the market.




2001 - Alfa 147picture of Alfa 147 year 2001

Surfing on the success of the bigger 156, the polished Alfa 147 was the only small car capable of defying the Mini. Winning several fleet awards, the Italian compact car confirmed Alfa’s potential as a corporate brand. Moreover, it was a thrill in styling and driving that the brand wouldn’t be able to match later on.




2002 - Citroën C3picture of Citroen C3 year 2002

Retro is defining the noughties, as Citroën - without ever admitting it - brings the infamous 2CV back in the form of the C3. Though the ingenuity of the original remains out of reach, this arc-shaped city car would become one of the brand’s all-time bestsellers.




2003 - Toyota Prius IIpicture of Toyota Prius II year 2003

With the second generation of the Prius, Toyota proves that hybrids shouldn’t be regarded as ‘frugal but dull’. As CO2 emissions started raising question marks in scientists’ debates, this car stirred up TCO as it mated the efficiency of a diesel with the cleaner emissions of petrol. A gamechanger.



2004 - Dacia Loganpicture of Dacia Logan year 2004

Renault introduces the automotive marketplace with the no-frills approach. Benefitting from previous generation Renault technology, the budget-oriented Logan becomes a hit worldwide. No car maker ever succeeded in copying the formula.





2005 - Hyundai Tucsonpicture of Hyundai Tucson year 2005

Thanks to the growing SUV trend and Hyundai’s focus on presentation, the Tucson nurses the car maker from its minority complex in Europe. An accessible price policy and an early bird approach to the genre boosted sales and brand awareness.




2006 - Ford S-Maxpicture of Ford S-Max year 2006

Ford hits the bulls’ eye with this sporty derivative of its already popular MPV Galaxy. Both in corporate circles as amongst private customers, the equilibrium between driver prowess and family functionality proves a recipe for seduction. Nothing less than a pioneer amongst people carriers.   




2007 - Fiat 500picture of Fiat 500 year 2007

That retro bowl roof of the 500 was able to carry the revival of the whole Fiat brand. Hitting the same sweet spot as the Mini before, adding some Italian flair, the resulting sales boomed. An all-electric version already appeared five years later.




2008 - Audi Q5picture of Audi Q5 year 2008

Audi’s act of quality and strong reputation in the used-car market, hitting the burgeoning market for compact SUVs, couldn’t go wrong. It didn’t. It hit its sales peak in the year after its launch and has been consistent ever since.




2009 - Opel/Vauxhall Insigniapicture of opel vauxhall Insigna year 2009

Opel coming to terms with its image of making bland and mediocre cars, results in the Insignia. It’s the car that put the brand back on the map by introducing strong quality and clever technology.




2010 - Audi A1picture of Audi A1 year 2010

Audi pushes the dimension boundaries of premium with the Brussels-built A1, a path BMW and Mercedes never dared follow. The city car as a luxury object proved popular in its first generation and pushed the brand’s volumes. But momentum got lost when succession was due.



2011 - Range Rover Evoquepicture of Range Rover Evoque year 2011

Muddy can be fashionable, urban, and widely adopted. Surfing the crossover trend Ranger Rover climbs down the ladder with the stylish Evoque boosting its sales while slashing the company’s overall CO2 output. A global hit.




2012 - Tesla Model Spicture of Tesla Model S year 2012

The car that would disrupt the whole automotive industry. Backed by a free Supercharger network, phenomenal acceleration, a novelty distribution method, and an interior commanded by an integrated iPad, the Tesla Model S put everyone its back-view mirror. Executives adored it instantly.




2013 - Skoda Octavia III picture of Skoda Octavia III year 2013

You don’t need to be fancy to make a fleet favourite. With German engines and multimedia, a tentative TCO package, a non-controversial style and good reliability, the Octavia is crowned as a corporate bestseller in more than one European country.




2014 - BMW 2 Active Tourerpicture of BMW 2 Active Tourer year 2014

Meeting family needs is another compelling way of wooing corporate customers. Regarded as blasphemy by the brand purists, BMW’s compact MPV quickly rises to fleet fame and outshines the commercial success of its main rival, the Mercedes B-Class.




2015 - DS 5picture of DS5 year 2015

The popularity of premium brands in corporate circles hasn’t gone unnoticed at Citroën. The carmaker sends DS in the arena as a separate brand, with the 5 as its first propriety model. With its avant-garde technology, the car opened up the professional market for the later widely adopted SUV DS 7 Crossback.



2016 - Peugeot 3008 IIpicture of Peugeot 3008 II year 2016

Learning from the first generation, Peugeot conquers the SUV segment with the second edition thanks to frugal engines, attractive design, good connectivity and a high-quality cockpit. The Car of the Year title was well-deserved.




2017 - Volvo XC40picture of Volvo XC40 year 2017

For its entry model, Volvo abandons the hatch concept and embraces the crossover trend with boxy looks, small but thrifty engines, CO2-beating hybrids and later on, BEV versions. The move is awarded. The XC40 tops the fleet charts in more than one country.




2018 - Mercedes A-Class IVpicture of Mercedes A-class IV year 2018

The second generation of the 'new' A-Class (with the old versions following the innovative MPV formula) proves that Mercedes made the right switch. Accounting for a decisive chunk of the company's sales volume, this edition is ready for car sharing and introduces next-level connectivity and voice control.




2019 - Audi E-Tronpicture of Audi E-Tron year 2019

Audi beats BMW and Mercedes to the game of introducing the first all-electric SUV from Germany. Based on the platform of the Q7, the E-Tron bridges a familiar presentation with innovative electrification. Executives soon discover the favourable TCO.




2020 - Polestar 2picture of Polestar 2 year 2020

Together with parent Geely, Volvo created the subdivision Polestar as the Scandinavian alternative to Tesla (made in China). With subcool design, competitive range, and government incentives as tailwinds the all-electric 2 doesn't fail in conquering some coveted spots on company parking lots.



2021 - Kia EV6picture of Kia EV6 year 2021

The eco credentials laid down by the Kia Niro and Soul culminate in the all-electric EV6, the brand's first zero-emission car on a dedicated platform. Its ultra-fast charging times, range of up to 482 kilometres and good connectivity also convinced the jury of Car of the Year.




2022 - Mercedes EQEpicture of Mercedes EQE year 2022

As a key driver in the fleet market, Mercedes manages to electrify the executive saloon segment before BMW and Audi. Class-leading aerodynamics, subscription charging, eye-catching luxury in the interior, and a big battery pack ensure that the company creates a corporate winner. 


Authored by: Piet Andries