Fleet Sales Slow Amid Fuel-Economy Test Uncertainty

One fleet-leasing vehicle supplier claims confusion among fleets about the impact of the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure is leading to a rise in daily rental bookings as fleets delay making decisions on buying new vehicles.

Paul Myles, European Editor

September 4, 2018

2 Min Read
Citroen parent PSA says revamped engines meet EU fuel-economy test guidelines.
Citroen parent PSA says revamped engines meet EU fuel-economy test guidelines.

While the PSA Group is trumpeting its completed strategy to extend real-world fuel-economy test figures to its entire range, doubts are being voiced over the WLTP protocol by car buyers.

A report by one fleet-leasing vehicle supplier claims confusion among fleets about the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure) is leading to a rise in daily rental bookings as fleets delay making decisions on buying new vehicles.

The study by the U.K.’s epyx, a subsidiary of Fleetcor Technologies, suggests activity through the company’s 1link Hire Network platform has been increasing in recent months and WLTP appears to be the key driver.

The trend is likely to be replicated throughout Europe and also may affect domestic vehicle purchases until consumers are made aware of what the new manufacturers’ fuel-economy claims mean in relation to previous vehicle testing.
PSA claims it can meet the European Union’s WLTP guidelines taking effect Sept. 1, owing to advances in its Peugeot and Citroën PureTech and BlueHDi engines launched in September 2017. It decided to invest ahead of time in the most efficient pollution-control technologies, including the selective catalytic reduction system introduced in 2013 on BlueHDi engines, and the gasoline particulate filter on PureTech direct-injection gasoline engines.

The WLTP test is based on realistic vehicle driving cycles resembling as closely as possible real conditions of use in terms of distance, average speed, stopping times and temperature. These tests produce certified fuel-consumption and emissions figures that are more representative of customer usage and the exact configuration of the vehicle. In addition, test-bench results for carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and particulate emissions are verified in real conditions on the road.

However, customer confusion over what the new regulation entails is creating a rush to short-term leasing for fleet operators unsure whether they should invest in vehicles for the future.

Tim Meadows, commercial director at epyx, says there has been a 17% increase in bookings over the same period last year.

“Fleets are waiting for the government to make the future tax situation around WLTP clearer and for many manufacturers to release their stats,” he says. “All of this is making operators wary about the cars that they are buying and, where possible, quite a number are choosing to put off the decision until they have more information.
“Some are extending contracts that are ending, as many leasing companies have reported, but others are using daily rental, which allows them to defer acquiring a new car in a very flexible manner. We have seen an increase in the number of cars that are being booked on an ongoing basis and WLTP appears to be the cause of this, both anecdotally from our conversations with customers and from examining the patterns of the bookings.”

 

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.

You May Also Like