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Fleet management is an ambiguous term used in reference to a wide range of solutions for different vehicle-related applications. Berg Insight’s definition of a fleet management solution is a vehicle-based system that incorporates data logging, satellite positioning and data communication to a backoffice application. The history of fleet management solutions goes back several decades. On-board vehicle computers first emerged in the 1980s and were soon connected to various satellite and terrestrial wireless networks. Today mobile networks can provide ubiquitous online connectivity at a reasonable cost and mobile computing technology delivers very high performance, as well as excellent usability. All of these components combined enable the delivery of vehicle management, transport management, driver management and mobile workforce management applications linking vehicles and enterprise IT systems. Commercial vehicle fleets play an essential role in the European economy. According to official statistics there were 35.5 million commercial vehicles in use in EU23+2 in 2008. The 6.2 million medium and heavy trucks accounted for more than 75 percent of all inland transports, forming a € 250 billion industry. Approximately 0.7 million buses and coaches stood for 9.3 percent of all passenger kilometres. Last but not least, the greater part of the 28.6 million light commercial vehicles (LCV) in Europe was used by mobile workers and for activities such as distribution of goods and parcels.
Berg Insight is of the opinion that the European fleet management market has entered a growth period that will last for several years to come. Individual markets may however suffer temporary setbacks, depending on the local economic developments. The number of fleet management systems in active use is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.7 percent from 2.0 million units at the end of 2010 to 5.0 million by 2015. The penetration rate in the total population of non-privately owned commercial vehicles is estimated to increase from 6.9 percent in 2010 to 17.6 percent in 2015.
A group of international aftermarket solution providers have emerged as the leaders on the European fleet management market. Masternaut is ranked as the largest player overall in terms of installed base with close to 200,000 units deployed, mainly in France and the UK. TomTom Business Solutions was the fastest growing vendor also in 2010 and has now surpassed 143,000 subscribers. Transics is number one in the heavy trucks segment with an estimated 65,000 active units installed. Other significant players include European companies such as Vehco, Navman Wireless and Trafficmaster and international players like Trimble and Qualcomm from the US and the South African telematics providers Digicore and MiX Telematics. All major truck manufacturers on the European market offer OEM telematics solutions as a part of their product portfolio. Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Scania launched their first products in the 1990s and followed by MAN in 2000, Renault Trucks in 2004, DAF Trucks in 2006 and IVECO in 2008. The products are all supporting the FMS standard and can generally be deployed in mixed fleets even if some functionality can be brand-specific. A major trend in the past three years has been the announcement of solutions for remote downloading of digital tachograph data and more advanced functionalities for eco-driving.
The consolidation trend in Europe has been accelerating in the past 18 months with a total of nine major M&A activities. Francisco Partners, a global technology-focused private equity firm, acquired Cybit in January 2010 in a deal worth about € 28 million. This deal was later followed by the acquisition of Masternaut in April 2011 forming the leading player in Europe from the Masternaut and Cybit operations while keeping the Masternaut brand. Trafficmaster was acquired by Vector Capital in June 2010 and subsequently delisted from the London Stock Exchange. In July 2010, Trimble acquired Punch Telematix focusing on the heavy trucks segment in a transaction worth € 13.5 million strengthening Trimble’s position in mainland Europe considerable. Digicore acquired in the same month Minorplanet in the UK along with the associated businesses in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. A part of Datatronics in Spain – Datatronics Mobility – was acquired by French Sedimap Group in October 2010. Another recent acquisition was done by Vehco in Sweden that acquired Elomobile in France in March 2011. Vehco is the market leader in the Nordics with new ambitions to be a major European player expanding into new countries. The latest transaction was done in June 2011 when Transics acquired the European activities of CarrierWeb.
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