How will vehicles be leased in the future? What will customers want? David Brennan, CEO of Nexus Vehicle Rental, analyses what we can expect in the future leasing landscape
What can we expect?
- A push towards greater vehicle usage, reduced ownership
- More flexibility, greater choice of transport modes
- Increased on-demand services
- Technology underpins mobility services
Rental operators, leasing companies, manufacturers and dealers are all increasingly speaking about one catchphrase – and that’s mobility.
Has the conversation moved on from fleet management to mobility management? In the same way that more and more people are choosing to rent their home instead of buying, fewer people today see car ownership as being as desirable as it once was.
In previous decades, people decided what car they wanted, saved up for it and bought it. Today, however, consumer habits have changed and the previous attraction of car ownership has waned, with customers, and business users alike, demanding flexible access to all kinds of services in their lives, mobility included.
This shift is most apparent among the 18-29 age group – the tech savvy millennials that are turning away from vehicle ownership in their droves, instead favouring vehicle usage and selecting from an eclectic menu of multimodal forms of mobility including rental, car sharing, e-hailing (think Uber), electric and hybrid, autonomous and driverless, and not forgetting public transport …
Changing customer behaviour is no doubt a key driver behind this change, but perhaps an even bigger reason is technology.
Multi-point IT interaction and, in particular, the Smartphone (something else very few actually own), has opened up new channels of mobility, enabling quick and easy access to vehicles for flexible business use.
Rental and leasing companies have to offer new technology and mobility services as part of their offer to ensure they stay ahead of the game.
Ultimately any driver is a consumer, and we all know that consumers are now more demanding than ever – they want on-demand access to vehicles for varying time periods, be this an hour, a day, a month or a year.
Rental customers also expect a range of digital services to be included in their rental package, the ability to self-serve being one of them. The process of renting a vehicle has also been simplified – Nexus customers, for example, are now able to hire a vehicle within ten seconds and on-the-go from their Smartphone or tablet.
Improved connectivity has also driven a continued demand for data and reporting, allowing decision-makers to keep a track of productivity and identify where savings can be made – by 2025, all fleet vehicles are predicted to have telematics built in as standard .
This drive towards automation of key services is streamlining business processes and providing a more integrated and autonomous rental service for customers. The road that lies ahead will see the entire industry configuring their business models based on changing customer behaviours and technology.
Rental and leasing providers must not only ensure they offer a premium quality of service, giving customers exactly what they want, when they want it and where they want it, but that they balance this with enough technological innovation to enable customers to pick and choose what they want (and when and where they want it) from the whole mobility menu.
What is certain is that there are going to be big changes ahead as drivers shift from being yesterday’s car owners to tomorrow’s mobility users.