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

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

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

Furthermore, the increased connectivity will help optimiseinternal processes such as fleet inventory management and vehicle maintenance. Thetelematics has also helped trace stolen cars, with up to fifteen beingrecovered, 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 sectorsof its business.

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

During the pandemic, Europcar’s well-established deliveryand collection model, which included a recently launched app, stood it in goodstead to weather the storm. According to the company, its corporate businesshas 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 interms 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 sectorsof our book of business.”

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