Regarding leading fleet preferences between the years 2014 and 2018, petrol was the No. 1 fuel type of choice until 2017 where diesel took over. Since then the gap between the two segments has continued to grow. - Photo courtesy of Gettyimages.com/MEzairi

Regarding leading fleet preferences between the years 2014 and 2018, petrol was the No. 1 fuel type of choice until 2017 where diesel took over. Since then the gap between the two segments has continued to grow.

Photo courtesy of Gettyimages.com/MEzairi

Editors Note: A portion of the following data in this feature was compiled courtesy of Dataforce. Automotive Fleet aggregated data that was provided over a several month period.

Commercial vehicle registrations in Australia have dipped year to date in 2019, although the overall vehicle market has experienced gradual growth since 2014.

In recent years, fleet has grown 10.2% when comparing data from 2014 to 2018. This data also revealed several new trends regarding popular vehicle segments and fueling preferences over the course of the last several years, according to a report from Dataforce. 

In 2019, however, recent data found that commercial vehicle sales are down slightly so far this year, when compared to the same period of time in 2018. A notable decrease in the heavy commercial vehicle segment was a major contributor to the decline, which saw its vehicle sales decrease by 1,914 compared to data in 2018, according to data from the Federal Chamber of automotive Industries (FCAI).

Toyota is the dominating brand in the Australian fleet market, and has been for the last several years, according to FCAI. 

Fuel Types Analysis

When analyzing 2019 data for the first half of the year, the overall Australian total market fuel-type share leaned heavily toward petroleum (65%) followed by diesel (33%) and hybrids (2%), but fleet market data revealed differences when compared to what was seen overall. 

Regarding leading fleet preferences between the years 2014 and 2018, petrol was the No. 1 fuel type of choice until 2017 where diesel took over. Since then the gap between the two segments has continued to grow, according to Dataforce. In 2018, diesel accounted for a 52.7% share of the market, or a little under 180,000 vehicles, which was up from 138,000 in 2014. Diesel has shown improvements in the overall market as well, and has grown gradually since 2016.

However, consistent with both the overall vehicle market and the fleet market was the reluctance toward alt-fuel vehicles, specifically plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles. 

In the overall market, hybrids accounted for an overall share of 1.4% of vehicles; battery-electric vehicles have not generated much traction either. A lack of government focus on charging networks, and few enticing tax benefits or taxation on vehicle emissions all contribute to the apathetic appetite for plug-in electric hybrid vehicles or battery-electric vehicles, Dataforce said.

Hybrids alone, however, fared slightly better when looking specifically at the fleet market and took 2.3% share of the channel for 2018. Putting it into further context for fleets, nearly half (49.2%) of all hybrid vehicles went to the true fleet market in 2018. 

The Hilux retained the No. 1 spot and the Land Cruiser placed third, while the Ford Ranger was listed in second, according to Dataforce. Ford was second to Toyota in 2018 with regards to fleet registrations. - Graphic courtesy of Dataforce.

The Hilux retained the No. 1 spot and the Land Cruiser placed third, while the Ford Ranger was listed in second, according to Dataforce. Ford was second to Toyota in 2018 with regards to fleet registrations.

Graphic courtesy of Dataforce.

Segment Preference

From a growth perspective between 2014 and 2018, leading the diesel total market in Australia are Toyota, Ford, and Isuzu, whose sales are bolstered heavily by the success of their pickup trucks/utes (the Hilux, Ranger, and D-Max) and large SUVs (Land Cruiser 200 and MU-X) which spearheaded this engagement with diesel vehicles, according to Dataforce.

A ute is a vehicle term used in Australia and New Zealand that is an abbreviation for “utility.” The term ute traditionally describes a vehicle built on a passenger car platform with a cargo bed in the rear that is integrated with the passenger body. A ute differs from a pickup whose cargo bed is not integrated with the passenger cab.

Meanwhile, for the first half of 2019, Toyota also lead as the overall top brand in the country, but the No. 2 and No. 3 brands were Mazda and Hyundai, respectively, according to VFACTS.

The top two best selling vehicles for the first half of 2019 were the Toyota Hilux at No. 1, followed by the Ford Ranger. These vehicles also retained the top spots in 2018 for the true fleet market in Australia.

The top leading segments in the overall market for the first half of 2019 were medium-sized SUVs, followed by small passenger cars, and then all-wheel-drive pickups, according to VFACTS. 

Country Overview

Vehicle sales across the country were down for the first half of 2019 in almost every major state of Australia, with Tasmania being the one exception, which saw a 1.7% increase in sales, though the state has a significantly smaller market share when compared to other states in the country. For example, the state of Queensland sold 113,181 vehicles in the first half of 2019, though its numbers were down 7.7% from last year.

Commercial fleet sales maintained a 41.9% share of the market in the first half of 2019, which was slightly lower than the private market which maintained a 48.3% share of the market. Both segments maintained the largest sales share of the market, after rental fleets at 6.3% and government fleets with 3.5%.

Leasing Trends

Novated leasing has increasingly become a popular way for fleets to fund fleet vehicles in Australia.

The novated lease is a three-way agreement between an employee, employer and a lease company that offers this leasing structure. The cost of the vehicle and its running costs are taken from the fleets pre-tax salary, reducing taxable income, according to Fleetcare, an Australian-based FMC.

The top 10 novated lease vehicles in Australia in 2018 consisted of several well-established fleet assets, with a few notable exceptions that led the way, according to a survey by Fleet Auto News.

The top 10 assets for this leasing structure in the survey were as follows:
● Mazda CX-5
● Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
● Toyota HiLux
● Ford Ranger
● Mazda CX-9
● Toyota Corolla
● Subaru Outback
● Toyota Land Cruiser
● Volkswagen Golf
● Mazda3

Fleet Management Systems

The number of active fleet management systems deployed for commercial vehicles fleets in Australia, and New Zealand, is also expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4% over the next few years and reach 1.7 million by 2022, according to Research and Markets.

Several companies serve the fleet telematics market in Australia and New Zealand, ranging from small local vendors to leading international solution providers, according to Research and Markets. The top 10 players in Australia and New Zealand account for almost 60% of the active units on the market, and more than 40% are represented by the top five.

The report found Teletrac Navman to be the largest solution vendor in Australia and New Zealand. Runners-up were Verizon Connect, EROAD, MTData and Netstar, which are based in the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, respectively.

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