How to finance your vehicle fleet in Latin America

Financing your vehicle fleet in Latin America is a little more expensive than doing it in the northern United States and Canada, and this is due to the higher interest rates you will face in the region.

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The benchmark interest rates to come in 2022 in the largest automotive markets in Latin America are Brazil (9.25%), Mexico (5.5%), Argentina (40%), Colombia (3%), Chile (4%) and Peru (6%). Expect a few extra percentage points to be added to these to allow for bank margins.

Top-selling brands in Latin America include Chevrolet (mainly in South America), Volkswagen, Fiat, Jeep, Toyota and Nissan (mainly in Mexico). As for the models, the best sellers are Toyota Hilux, Chevrolet Onix, Fiat Strada, Nissan Versa and Volkswagen Gol.

2022 Nissan Versa, best-selling sedan in Latin America (copyright: Nissan)

Besides the largest banks in the region financing vehicle acquisitions such as Itaú Unibanco and Banco Santander (Brazil), Bancomer (Mexico) and Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores (Colombia), some of the major OEM financiers in the region are Volkswagen Financial Services , GM Financial (mainly Chevrolet), Toyota Financial Services, RCI Financial Services (Renault-Nissan) and Stellantis Financial Services (mainly Fiat).

Rental

Another vehicle acquisition option, which has been growing for some time in Latin America, is to obtain your vehicles through a multi-year lease agreement with a vehicle leasing company, most of which now also offer management services. of fleet.

Not only does outsourcing management services free up your time to focus on your core business, there is usually no need to deal with vehicle maintenance, insurance and taxes. Ultimately, you can achieve significant savings if you find the right partner. i.e. a leasing company that has multi-country leverage as well as local expertise.

In terms of best practices in the region, open-ended contracts that are more common in Europe are generally popular in South America, while open-ended leases influenced by patterns seen in the United States are more common in the United States. Mexico.

While open-ended leases could give purchasing experts more peace of mind as they don’t have to deal with the risk of vehicle depreciation, open-ended leases have more flexible terms, a more attractive alternative for some people.

Also keep in mind that executive benefit cars are generally more popular in Latin America, as well as in Europe, compared to North America which favors tool vehicles for trade.

In terms of flexibility, Latin America is an open-minded region and adaptation is essential at this time, especially in the wake of the changing business scenario. In addition to more people working from home, there is a lack of supplies on the market these days, such as raw materials and semiconductors and, in turn, vehicle models.

Vehicle availability is of the utmost importance and some customers are willing to change the make or model of their car to obtain it or even acquire used cars to meet short-term needs.

Many businesses these days are looking to free up cash for their operations. In addition to seeking adjustments to mileage limits (mileage) and contract duration (extension or early termination), some are considering the possibility of having a replacement car or complementary mobility services or even a pay-as-you-go model. ‘use.

Subscription

Given the flexibility, shorter term arrangements come to mind, i.e. subscription (monthly) services. On the one hand, it could be more cost-effective and less labor-intensive for fleet managers, as 24/7 roadside service and vehicle maintenance and depreciation are at the expense of the lessor and are not calculated in TCO (total cost of ownership) on the books of the fleet managers.

In addition to monthly fees, pay attention to mileage limits and contract periods when looking for these types of deals (eg, $300 per month with a 4,000 km limit and 12-month loyalty). An EV model would cost 2-3 times more.

Apart from the subscription services which are more commonly offered by OEMs these days, these types of offers are available from car leasing and rental agencies in Latin America and some of note are ALD Automotive, Arval, LeasePlan, Element Fleet Management, Localiza, Fleets International Enterprises, RDA Mobility, TIP Mexico, Unidas, Movida and Porto Segura.

Finally, note that subscription leasing is a way for fleet managers to try out new powertrains such as electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids and that there are flexible options that involve leasing for longer periods of time. short (week, day and even minute). There are several companies of this type appearing in Latin America. Among them are Awto, based in Chile, as well as KW Fleet and Itau VEC, from Brazil.