GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - The installed base of fleet management systems in Europe increased 15.4 percent in 2009, according to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight. The number of fleet management systems deployed in commercial fleets in Europe was 1.5 million in Q4-2009, an increase of 15.4 percent year-on-year.

Growth is expected to continue in 2010 with a slightly increased growth rate of 16.7 percent. Despite a lackluster market heavily affected by the general economic downturn and sluggish new vehicle sales, some players such as TomTom WORK and Digicore have managed to achieve strong growth. Together with Masternaut, they have joined the exclusive group of fleet management providers in Europe having more than 100,000 devices in the field.

"The adoption of telematics technology among commercial fleets is progressing," said Johan Fagerberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight. "Businesses cannot afford to be inefficient, but in difficult times some cannot afford to make the initial investments that would reduce costs in the longer term."

Fagerberg anticipates the market slowdown will accelerate a consolidation of the still overcrowded industry. "We believe in a scenario where a group of financially strong international players will gradually squeeze out their local smaller competitors. Some will be acquired, but many more will simply be forced out of business."