8 jan 16

Italy: Change in mobility is on the way

Many countries and many companies are coming to realise that the traditional model of one employee-one car, is becoming outdated. Italy is no exception, and other models are beginning to emerge, or at least be considered.

Firstly, company mobility plans ands policies. A  review of the company fleet, implementing policies for car pooling and car sharing would help a lot in reducing the size of the fleet and fuel consumption. And a flexible approach to the use of alternative means to replace the company car, offering for example a guide to the times and costs (which would be reimbursed) of public transport, would be very useful in reducing the use of the company car in favor of more economic solutions when applied effectively. The trend is to work primarily on the human factor, trying to promote an appropriate culture within the company towards drivers in order to decrease costs related to fleet incidents and to drastically reduce those related to fuel. That alone will bring important savings in TCO.

Safety and telematics

Safety is increasingly crucial for renting companies and their customers. To help counter a situation where the number of accidents is in constant growth, fleet managers and rental companies both act to adopt safety technologies and telematics systems, along with road safety education initiatives. There are also initiatives aimed at individual drivers with the objective of improving personal driving style, leading to positive returns on the final mobility costs. Along with this, there is a growing use of telematics devices within hired vehicles, for the management of aspects related to the prevention of risks and operational control of the fleet, a further step to increase the efficiency of the services hired.

Installing on-board devices such as the black box (now present on almost all rental companies’ new vehicles), is unquestionably one of the trends that fleet managers are turning to in order to contain costs, improve efficiency and ensure maximum safety.

Green car policy

A corporate fleet focus on ecologic and green vehicles, fuelled by natural gas, hybrid or electric, is steadily increasing. This is demonstrated by the various initiatives undertaken by industry associations and institutions, repeatedly highlighted in the press and on the web. Important among these is clearly the ability to take advantage of incentives for the more virtuous companies in terms of fleet management, confirmed in 2015 by the ‘Unlock Italy‘ decree, despite the difficulties of access to these funds which  companies have complained about in the past . Looking at the fiscal side, the greater awareness of countries which have already adopted policies several years ago, has led to an efficient strategy of incentives based on the emissions of company fleets.

The new mobility trend

We can identify an evolution of the mission of the car-rental offering towards mobility-rental, in which the object of the offering is not only the car, but mobility as a whole.

Already, in fact, these services are increasingly in demand in addition to the traditional consulting services. In short, operators today are projected onto a wider dimension, where in addition to being hyper-specialized in certain products, they are also aggregators of other complementary services, in order to give the customer a 360 degrees service, with a single commercial interface. It is still too early to say that this will be the over-riding trend, as it will be followed by many, but not all. Others (especially those with more restricted financial means) choose strategies centred on specialization and on operational excellence, aiming at a market stimulated by its ‘supplements mobility services‘ that will increase overall customer demand with specialized partners who will try and claim a proportion of the integrated services. This desire to merge different services in a single relationship with the customer will have the effect of blurring some of the barriers that today separate the individual products: rent-a-car, long-term rental, car sharing and roadside assistance. Some businesses will aim to maintain a strong operational expertise, while offering customers a complete portfolio of solutions. As a result the current car-centric model of some services may no longer be the only one, but may be joined by another model centered on the service level.

Customer demand to more easily and immediately access different models of integrated mobility will be the deciding factor in whether these new trends really take hold, and lead to a shift in corporate mobility.

Authored by Giovanni Tortorici