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My big 1,2,3 in 2015

It's December already. I'm eagerly opening my advent calendar every morning and eating a delicious Belgian chocolate that sits behind each and every window. But less talk of chocolate and more chatter about fleet. It's time for me to take a look back on 2015 and tell you what I think have been the biggest moments in the fleet industry.

First up it has to be mergers and acquisitions in the car leasing business. In the past few months we've seen Arval and Element Financial snap up GE Capital's fleet business and new shareholders arrive on the scene at LeasePlan Corporation.

This tells me that the leasing business is an attractive industry for investors, and has bounced back from the trauma of the financial crises. Stability in the sector is essential, economies of scale are wonderful, but will greater levels of consolidation constrain competition? It's a concern, but we'll have to see what materialises in the coming months.

I'm also left wondering whether the evolution of the car leasing and its business model will slow with fewer players in the market. Necessity is the mother of invention, so that means fleet managers need to keep pushing the boundaries and asking for more. If there's demand and a margin for profit, suppliers will always find a way of servicing clients.

Coming in at number two it has to be dieselgate. The emissions scandal, on the eve of the UN Climate Convention in Paris, focused the mind on how important environmental matters are in the car fleet business.

Fleet managers have suspected for a long time that the information in car log books isn't accurate. We know that what happens in the real world is very different from what goes on down at the lab -and now at the testing station.

Let's not forget that progress has been made in emissions performance. Tech innovations have moved on massively. The industry has taken some great leaps forward. At the moment though, there's a lack of confidence and trust needs to be rebuilt.

I'm hoping that the outcome of the climate talks in Paris provides a foundation and a framework for the auto and fleet industry to do just this. The time to make progress is right now.

And last, but by no means least, coming in at number 3, it's connectivity, mobility and telematics. We are living in the middle of a tech revolution. So much is happening, so quickly, that it's difficult to keep up with the pace of change.

Connectivity, mobility and telematics, in its various different forms, is the future. Over the past 12 months more and more of us have become familiar with this new language and the new solutions that are available.

We're seeing the potential of technology, pausing to take a closer look and pioneers are putting it into practice and starting to see it shine. Next year, there will be so much more to come. As fleet managers see the results and a storm of activity is the space is set to ensue. Well, that's my prediction.

So, there's my 1,2,3. What has rocked your fleet world in 2015?

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Steven Schoefs
Nexus Communication - Chief Editor - Fleet Europe

For the past three years Steven Schoefs has been Editor in Chief of Fleet Europe. In this role he is responsible for the editorial content Fleet Europe's magazine, its website www.fleeteurope.com and the annual Fleet Europe Forum & Awards, the platform for sharing and exchanging knowledge among decision makers and peers in the fleet industry, held at a different location in Europe each year, and attracting over 500 fleet managers, owners, experts and others with an interest in fleet At the heart of his editorial philosophy is the quality of content and the search for new fleet management developments and trends, whether it is in terms of product, services, legislation, mobility issues or market evolutions. Steven also coordinates the International Fleet Managers' Institute (IFMI), a platform for sharing and exchanging knowledge among peers in the fleet industry. He is also involved in strategic and budget issues and for managing the team of company and freelance journalists. Steven has always worked very closely with Caroline Thonnon, the Business Development Director and herself a recognised authority on the fleet business.

Steven Schoefs blog will focus on key trends and developments within the European fleet market and the automotive market, as well as on the evolving role of the international fleet manager.

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