Fleet Management in South Africa
For many the South African fleet management market is an unknown, but in reality the market is well developed providing a range of services that multinationals would expect to see.
Established in the early 80s, from a car rental base, by such household names as Avis and Hertz, today the industry provides a full range of financial products with complimentary stand-alone services for maintenance, fuel and accident management, vehicle relicensing, traffic fines management, vehicle procurement and remarketing.
South Africa has a number of number of “home grown” telematics suppliers who now have worldwide representation in the US, UK, EU, Australia, Africa, S America and the Middle East. Their services are leading edge and often award winning in their markets. Additionally, fleet management software solutions that originated in South Africa are now marketed worldwide.
The banking system provides a sophisticated range of fuel cards that operates across all suppliers countrywide. Their information downloads facilitate analysis and integration with specialist fuel management suppliers.
There are 7 major suppliers of fleet management services. 3 of these are independents focusing mainly on operating lease products and 4 are bank based, offering a full range of financial services including operating leases and traditional asset based finance products. Customers who elect not to use operating leases are able to utilise stand-alone services to manage their fleet.
The operating lease market is less than 100 000 vehicles but the fleet services market is substantial and primarily focused on fuel cards and maintenance services, as a result of OEMs providing service and maintenance plans with new vehicles.
The corporate sector is responsible for the majority of vehicle purchases either through ownership or employee Car Allowances that are used to acquire vehicles for both business and private usage. Car Allowances have a significant portion of the market as personnel tax initially favoured them (since equalised) and the affordability of vehicles continues to be a concern.
The fleet management industry is giving more focus to the management of fleet operating costs, as a stand-alone service, by using their established skills structure and buying power. Although fleet costs are high in the hierarchy of business costs, currently they do not enjoy the required attention and there are significant future opportunities to reduce fleet costs and achieve efficiency gains.
Fleet consultancy services are available which focus on operating cost management and fleet policy development; including finance methods, replacement planning and cost forecasting models. This is of benefit to multinational companies as they seek to harmonise fleet policies across global structures using the global capability of Connector.
The need for fleet management services in Southern and East Africa is on the rise and some of this need is being serviced by South African companies who are established in those markets.