After signing a deal with Geotab and Telefonica, Europcar is well on its way to completing their goal of having connected its UK fleet by the end of 2023. In fact, Europcar experts recently announced that the company expects to have its UK fleet fully connected by the end of the year, with around 75% of vehicles already fitted with telematics devices.

This puts the UK well ahead of schedule, and according to Ron Santiago, managing director of Europcar Mobility Group, UK the progress will “allow us to manage our fleet more efficiently and effectively. Being able to know whether a car is ready before you go out to collect it, is going to save us so much time and energy.”

The real-time telematics being fitted, designed to help the monitoring of cars and vans will provide access to engine data, driving behaviour and GPS location. Not only will this give insight into distances travelled, vehicle mileage and fuel levels, but Europcar says that the telematics will help to improve the customer experience through enhanced vehicle delivery and collection.

Furthermore, the increased connectivity will help optimise internal processes such as fleet inventory management and vehicle maintenance. The telematics has also helped trace stolen cars, with up to fifteen being recovered, which Santiago believes would have been lost for good in the past.

As Europcar continues to make strides towards its postCovid-19 recovery, the organisation has concentrated on growing other sectors of its business.

Santiago paid tribute to the way staff have adapted during the global pandemic, “The team, before I arrived and since, have done an amazing job of handling all of the uncertainty in the market,”

During the pandemic, Europcar’s well-established delivery and collection model, which included a recently launched app, stood it in good stead to weather the storm. According to the company, its corporate business has grown beyond pre-pandemic levels.

“It’s all about leisure and inbound,” explained Santiago. “When are the airports going to get back even close to the levels of 2019 in terms of passenger traffic? Some people say ’23 or ’24. I’m in the 2025 camp.

“But our overall business – our revenues, our fleet sizes –we’ll get back to 2019 levels faster than that because we’ve grown other sectors of our book of business.”

While there are still plenty of challenges to overcome, including the semiconductor shortage the vehicle rental industry is currently facing, the progress and development made by Europcar over the past year have certainly left them in good shape to face them.