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Around The World – April

By April 26, 2019News

UK – Brexit Breakdown

The ongoing Brexit dilemma may have had a flow on effect for British Fleets in the event of a “no deal” outcome. While the decision has again been delayed the result could mean a block on interim customs or free trade agreement between the UK and the EU, triggering World Trade Organisation tariffs and lengthy delays at customs for all goods crossing the border between both entities.

The Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO), has tried hard to avoid getting involved in speculation about the consequences of a no deal Brexit.

John Pryor, ACFO chairman, said, “We’ve never been in a situation quite like this before. My gut feeling is that it [the withdrawal agreement] will not really matter. Cars will still come and we will still have fuel.”

“If there are delays in the supply of vehicles or parts for service and repair, fleets will just have to cope,” he added.

The more significant early complication, said Pryor, could involve UK employees hiring cars within the EU, if the two sides fail to reach an agreement on accepting driving licences.

USA – Conference Collaboration

Now in its seventh year, the Global Fleet Conference is set to bring together managers of the world’s largest multinational commercial fleets on June 4-6.

The publishers of Automotive Fleet, Work Truck, Fleet Europe and Global Fleet have joined forces to bring Global Fleet Conference. Alternating locations between Europe and the U.S. each year, over 300 participants from all over the world attend Global Fleet Conference to examine the latest thinking in global fleet management.

The all-new Deep Dive features subject-specific sessions covering Safety, Technology, Vocational Fleets and Mobility. Global Fleet managers will share their personal experiences how to overcome obstacles and avoid pitfalls.

Global Fleet Conference is an opportunity to meet exclusively with high-level executives from around the world in an intimate setting designed to encourage alliance-building and idea and resource exchange. The organisers are promising that delegates will walk away with a strengthened understanding of (and new strategies for addressing) the big picture issues that affect your operations.

CZECH REPUBLIC – Skoda Sensation

Skoda plans to build three electric cars based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform in the Czech Republic within the next four years, including a small, affordable model.

Skoda’s flagship MEB electric car will be based on the Vision IV coupe crossover concept revealed at the Geneva auto show earlier this month.

It will be joined by a second car that will be a more conventional SUV and will be built at Skoda’s Mlada Boleslav plant alongside the flagship model, which starts production in the second half of 2020 ahead of its market launch in early 2021. Both vehicles will be built on the same line as the Skoda Octavia compact car.

“That gives us a lot of flexibility. We can scale and adjust to some extent if customer demand changes,” Maier said.

A third, more affordable electric car will be built at Skoda’s Kvasiny plant and will form part of a new “MEB entry family” of cars announced by the VW Group.

MEXICO CITY – Trading Turnaround

Mexico’s government said on Tuesday it had reached an agreement with Brazil on the free trade of light vehicles, subject to a 40 percent regional content requirement, paving the way for more open commerce between Latin America’s two biggest economies.

Free trade with Brazil began on March 19 with both the government of Mexico and the South American nation working on a new formula for the definition of regional content of 40 percent, the agency said.

As for Argentina, the car trade will made over the next three years through quotas, which will rise 10 percent in the first year, 5 percent in the second and another 5 percent in the third. Once concluded this period, free trade would come into force.

Mexico has been looking to diversify its trading partners since US President Donald Trump warned of a possible death of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has sustained the country’s economy for a quarter of a century.

JAPAN – Fuel Cell Future

Our Japanese friends are still pushing their efforts into the hydrogen fuel cell market as an alternative solution to EVs due to ongoing charging concerns within the region.

While there are far more battery electric vehicles on the road today than hydrogen cars – over 5 million plug-in cars worldwide at last check – in countries like Japan many people live in apartment buildings without a place to easily charge a car.

As such it’s here where companies like Toyota are banking on the convenience of hydrogen fuel cell, and a recent partnership is set to increase production within the next couple of years.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s thermal power generation unit said it will team up with a subsidiary of JXTG Holdings Inc. to start producing zero-emission fuel in 2020. Under the 2015 Paris climate accord, Japan is aiming for a 26 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 2013 levels.

SOUTH AFRICA – Telematics Triumph

MiX Telematics, a global provider of fleet and mobile asset management solutions, will be providing a South African earthmoving equipment provider with a telematics solution to help improve the efficiency of their vehicles and the safety of their customers’ drivers.

Operating across the African nation, this company required 418 of its costly earthmoving vehicles to be fitted with a reputable telematics solution so that their customers could have an accurate view of driver behaviour.

The vehicles and equipment are spread across the country, often in very remote areas, so MiX’s solution provides much needed visibility and control to accurately monitor the whereabouts and driving style of their drivers.

“We’re delighted that this leading company in its field has adopted our telematics solutions so that they can provide their customers with the best possible value,” says Gert Pretorius, MD of MiX Telematics Africa. “Our strong relationship with the company was formed over months of negotiation and sets the foundation for a strong partnership going forward.”

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