It is not easy what renting has done in an exercise as complicated as 2020, the year of the coronavirus. It is true that it has dropped in turnover, 5.5%, and in registrations, 30.9%. However, the fleet of vehicles has increased, 4.46%, and that of customers, 15.77%, according to data from the AER sector employers’ association. The first quarter of 2021 points in the same direction. Enrollments continue to decline, 10.65%, but the positive trend continues in customers and fleet.
Beyond the numbers, you have to look at other aspects. The flexibility with which it has been adapted to the needs of customers. The strategy that it has created to respond to a new consumer profile that no longer understands mobility and vehicle ownership as before. Or the commitment to digitization to streamline procedures, and the sustainability of a fleet where one out of every three vehicles that is registered is already electric.
This sum has led José-Martín Castro, president of the Spanish Vehicle Renting Association (AER), to affirm that “renting has been able to close a very difficult and atypical year, establishing positive trends that will help the development of the sector in the coming years”. The forecasts for 2021 are to grow in customers, doubling the percentage in the park (4%) and in registrations (20%), he indicates.
Rent connects well with the new way of understanding mobility and ownership
Much of this growth will be in small companies, freelancers and individuals. Between 2015 and 2020 they have gone from representing 2.35% of the market to 15%. Castro estimates that this figure “could double in the next five years.”
It is in them where Begoña Cristeto, partner in charge of automotive and industry at KPMG in Spain, appreciates a change in a profile “that demands a new way of understanding both mobility and vehicle ownership”. Cristeto believes that “health and economic uncertainty” is “forcing the user to adapt to new consumption habits.” “The client is looking for a flexible and financially more interesting solution in the short term,” he says.
Renting already registers one in three electric vehicles
“The situation we have now is of concern to individuals,” recalls Manuel García, general secretary of the Spanish Leasing and Renting Association (AELR). Large investments in a vehicle are closely related to the economic situation. This is not good at the moment. There is also uncertainty about how long the crisis will last. The sum of both factors influence decision making.
Here comes the rent, with solutions adapted to this new mobility with “a much more flexible renting for companies and a more affordable second-hand renting for individuals”, explains Antonio Cruz, general deputy director of ALD Automotive. Measures that help them decide on new drives.
SEAT wants to grow 16% in 2021 and Stellantis bets on the sector with its two brands
“It is the spearhead of automotive trends,” argues Miguel Orejas, Arval’s director of marketing and business development. In this group, they have designed, therefore, a sustainable mobility strategy with Arval Beyond, to accompany companies and individuals in this energy transition.
Car manufacturers have also experienced a very difficult exercise. Despite this, they have continued to bet on this business. The proof can be found in Cupra and the Formentor launched in 2021. With its 150 horsepower versions in gasoline and diesel, electric and plug-in “it is better adapted to the demand of renting for company fleets and user chooser”, Say Cupra sources. From Seat they hope to grow this year up to 16% with “the new generation of the Leon, the renewed Ateca, the wide range of hybrid engines and the flexibility with the payment per use taken to its maximum expression”.
Stellantis is also confident that 2021 will be a good year for renting, with its two mobility brands betting on that segment. Free2Move Lease sources state that they will work to “be a tool for the commercialization of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids” of their brands. From Leasys, on the other hand, they are going to open a network of mobility centers throughout Spain and it foresees that 50% of its fleet “will be made up of low-emission vehicles”.
Alphabet. “Sustainability is transversal to our business and a large part of our current and future strategy pivots on it.” Rocío Carrascosa, CEO of Alphabet, defines with this phrase the company’s commitment to sustainable mobility. This translates into the increasingly wide offer that AlphaElectric makes of this type of vehicle to companies and individuals.
Alquiber. Flexible and long-term renting, from 3 to 60 months, will continue to be this year 2021 the base on which this Spanish company wants to consolidate growth above double digits. “Grow, grow and grow” is the motto raised by José Ramón Calvo, its CEO.
Athlon. One of the main objectives of this company for 2021 is to develop a new flexible renting product for companies. They will have the possibility of hiring a vehicle from 24 hours to 24 months.
LeasePlan. Thousands of hours behind the wheel of drivers is “very valuable data on accidents that we offer to our customers to improve their driving,” explains David Henche, spokesman for LeasePlan. Very useful information that also serves to lower the renting fee.
Northgate. Individuals can contract from this year and completely digitally the flexible renting offered by the company. A transparent process in which the price is always visible.