Non-European fleet managers of multinationals often attempt to extrapolate their local fleet norms to other global fleet markets, with the most common misunderstanding occurring with the European fleet markets, which, cumulatively, is the world’s largest fleet market.

Here are some examples of differences that can lead to misunderstandings:

  • One of the biggest misunderstandings is the assumption that there is a single European market. The reality is that, in the Europe, there are 50 different country markets, speaking 23 different languages, with each market having unique taxation regimes, vehicle funding preferences, sustainability requirements, and cultural favoritisms toward OEM brands.
  • Although perk cars can be found elsewhere in the world, benefit cars in Europe are more widespread, and are typically part of an employee’s compensation package.
  • While privacy laws are strong in North America and Australasia, they are the strongest in Europe. From a fleet perspective, this manifests itself when a company is collecting telematics data, which is often a contentious issue with European HR departments, work councils, and trade unions.
  • Pan-European negotiations often require individual country-by-country negotiations due to differences in country pricing, taxation, and product/services availability.
  • In the EU, the CO2 emission factor will almost systematically be taken into account for company car taxation purposes. In Europe, taxation penalizes vehicles with high CO2 emissions, which does not occur in the majority of the world. A large number of cars on American roads would definitely be heavily taxed in view of their CO2 emissions if they were in service in the EU.
  • The majority of the world uses the metric system (meters, liters, and grams), while the U.S., the second largest fleet market, uses the Imperial system of weights and measurements (miles, gallons, and pounds). Many Americans have difficulty making top-of-mind comparisons from one system to the other.

These examples are a fraction of the many differences between the American and European fleet markets. American fleet managers need to take time to learn about the European fleet market, in addition to talking with your European counterparts, it is also important, perhaps crucial, to talk to your European human resources/compensation managers, along with European fleet services providers and vehicle OEMs.

If you want an overview of key differences between the world’s two largest fleet markets, an excellent 60-page publication has been developed by Nexus Communication entitled “Guide to Fleet Management: Europe Compared to the United Sates.” To order a copy of the publication, visit and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Another excellent opportunity to expand your knowledge of the regional fleet markets is to attend the fifth annual 2017 Global Fleet Conference, which will be held June 6-8, 2017, in Miami, Fla

Let me know what you think.

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P.S. Check out the latest on the 2017 Global Fleet Conference in Miami June 6-8, 2017

On the opening day of the 2017 Global Fleet Conference there will be an excellence market report on the Top Trends in European Fleet ManagementThis address will identify the top fleet trends in Europe and how they will influence the direction of the market in future years. Insights will be provided by identifying the trends and developments influencing today’s and tomorrow’s vehicle fleet business in Europe. Among the trends discussed will be funding, outsourcing, sustainability initiatives, downsizing, employee mobility, driver behavior, and connectivity.

See you in Miami.