The Auto Market is Shifting Gears!

As environmental standards have become stricter, the car industry has been undergoing significant changes. Individuals are looking for practical family cars, while companies are turning towards increasingly affordable solutions that are also in line with trends that favor comfort and environmentally friendly options. Here is a brief summary of the situation.

The trend is plain to see. There has been a noticeable decline in diesel vehicles as consumers opt for gas and hybrid vehicles. Carbon emissions tests are now much more advanced and traffic restrictions in large cities during peak pollution periods are forcing people to change their habits.

“The same is true for companies that are slowly modifying their fleets of vehicles to have more gas or hybrid vehicles,” explained Laurent Chagnon, the sales manager for BPCE Car Lease. “However, for car rental services like BPCE Car Lease, which caters to professionals driving 30,000 kilometers per year on average, diesel vehicles are still in the majority.”

What About Electric and Hybrid Vehicles?

While the long-term trend indicates a shift towards electric vehicles, they currently account for just a small percentage of BPCE Car Lease transactions. For long-term rentals, the issue of recharging these vehicles remains a disadvantage. However, car manufacturers are focused on three areas of improvement: the operating range, the creation of more new recharging points, and the battery recycling system. At the same time, consumers are changing their behaviors to be more eco-friendly, choosing more gas and hybrid gas cars. Toyota has for several years offered a very competitive range of hybrids that are gaining in popularity at the expense of diesel vehicles. For its part, BPCE is tackling the subject by working on its green options for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Towards a “More Finished” Car

Cars have retained a special place in the hearts of many French people. Consumers are looking for vehicles that are comfortable, safe, and appropriate for big city driving. The trend is no longer to have the biggest car, but one with the best finishes. Companies, on the other hand, take three factors into account: the budget, the expectations of employees, and their own company image. Showing that you are eco-friendly has become vital. For example, Natixis and its subsidiaries have used exclusively gas and hybrid gas vehicles for the past three years.

Long-Term Rentals Score Points

For several years, long-term rentals have been increasing. Now, one out of every three professional vehicles is paid for this way.

“We have observed this trend especially for company vehicles that are regularly replaced, allowing companies to always operate recent, well-maintained vehicles,” noted Laurent Chagnon.

It is also an affordable solution for companies thanks to the services that come with these vehicles, including maintenance, assistance, tire changing services, replacement vehicles in the event of a breakdown, and fuel management as well as the inclusion of vehicle insurance. Lease-purchase agreements, for their part, have many advantages. Being able to purchase a commercial vehicle fitted out with a lot of equipment remains an attractive solution for clients.

An Eye on 2021

With the new CO2 emissions standards and fines set to take effect starting in 2021, the market for electric and hybrid vehicles will grow. We can expect more competition that will probably lead to a decrease in prices, which is great news for companies and individuals alike!

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