Meeting automotive challenges

The global automotive industry is one in constant and steady transition. Manufacturers operate globally, metal is exported all over the world, energy-efficiency is now high on the agenda, and oil and gas prices seem balanced on a hair trigger.

While Australia has concerns that are unique unto itself, the automotive industry is certainly one that operates on a global scale. This means Australian fleet managers will feel all the bumps in the road, as worldwide automotive trends change.

The industry is a difficult one to predict, which is why PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have conducted a global study, in which they interviewed and surveyed 87 automotive CEOs across 34 countries, to find out what business leaders predict, and what their concerns are for the future.

Among its findings, PwC uncovered optimism in the industry. Just under half (44 per cent) of CEOs said they believe the global economy will improve over the next 12 months. This is a significant turnaround compared to the same study last year, when just 16 per cent believed economic improvement was on the way.

Importantly, the industry is moving in the right direction, with only 7 per cent of respondents expecting the industry to decline - down from 31 per cent last year.

Car fuel consumption

In terms of challenges, a major area of concern for business leaders was high energy costs, with 70 per cent of respondents saying they are somewhat or extremely concerned about the volatile energy market.

PwC said that in a mere 15 years, energy demand is going to increase by 50 per cent. With spiralling energy prices causing a concern for businesses that rely on company vehicles, reducing fuel consumption is a challenge that can unlock significant benefits. 

What's more, four-fifths of CEOs (82 per cent) also said that it is important to reduce their business's carbon footprint. 

While many businesses rely on green cars to reduce their fuel bills, others can streamline their fleet service to try and reduce both their environmental impact and fleet costs.

Putting faith in technology

New technology is making the vehicles on our roads better by the year. Still, a huge 79 per cent of CEOs surveyed by PwC said technology is the No.1 trend set to transform the automotive business over the next five years.

When it comes to managing a fleet, using technology is a proven way to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Fleet management software, for instance, offers simple reporting to make a fleet manager's life easier and improve the running of all fleet vehicles.

PwC found that a huge majority (86 per cent) of CEOs have began using a cost reduction initiative for their business. A further two-thirds say they are planning to cut costs further in the next 12 months.

PwC explained: "In our view, such cost reductions aren't only about cutting the fat. We've seen many companies changing their cost structures to align with changing markets [and] technologies."

To find out how your fleet can find simple, cost-saving technology, check out Smartfleet's innovative fleet management services.