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 Europe, taxation is rapidly moving to penalize vehicles with high CO2 emissions, which does not occur in the majority of the world. Typically, the European carbon tax is split between the company and the driver.
  • 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.

Photo: Nexus Communication

Photo: Nexus Communication

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 fourth annual 2016 Global Fleet Conference, which will be held June 6-8, 2016, in Brussels, Belgium. After selling out three consecutive years, it’s definitely not too early to pencil in the date for the 2016 Global Fleet Conference.

To view testimonials from 2015 Global Fleet Conference in Miami, go to

Let me know what you think.

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About the author
Mike Antich

Mike Antich

Former Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Global Fleet of Hal in 2022. He also won the Industry Icon Award, presented jointly by the IARA and NAAA industry associations.

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