Local LCV fleets cool on speed of tech developments

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi survey shows Australian SME firms’ long-term view

Local LCV fleets cool on speed of tech developments
Nissan’s e-NV200 electric van


Australian small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with light commercial vehicle (LCV) fleets display a high degree of scepticism about the pace of electrification and automation, despite the pressures of ecommerce, a Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (RNM) LCV Business survey reveals.

Local findings from the alliance’s global survey show less than half as many Australian SMEs believe their fleets will be fully autonomous or fully electric compared with the average which also includes comparable firms in the UK, US, China, France, Mexico and Japan.

The survey was of 3,257 global respondents of businesses with between 1-49 employees and with turnovers up to and above the equivalent of US$100 million (A$141 million).

Of the 250 owners or decision makers surveyed in Australia, only 16 per cent of respondents from Australia believe fleets will be fully autonomous within the next 10 years while 23 per cent do believe fleets will become fully electric within a decade.

The global average is 38 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

Automation is seen as less of a threat to employment. Read Hays’ take here

Ever-changing regulations are posing challenges for small business leaders, despite their confidence and commitment to keep up with the demands of e-commerce, RNM notes.

This is predicated on the findings that keeping up with regulations was voted the biggest challenge logistically for small businesses in Australia at 23 per cent, similar to France with 24 per cent, while 17 per cent of Australian respondents believe the growth of e-commerce and the rising demand for overall deliveries is their biggest challenge logistically.

Conversely, 54 per cent of Australian respondents do feel confident that their business is well set up to tackle the demands of e-commerce, similar to small business leaders in the UK and US, at 59 per cent each.

Smarter technology was voted by 25 per cent of Australian small business leaders as the leading requirement to better prepare for e-commerce demands and improve delivery efficiencies, followed by the need for more vehicles, at 12 per cent.

For most regions, bar China at 31 per cent, the concept of sustainability as a spur for adopting new technologies within their fleets is in single figures, with Australia no different.

But, in Australia, efficiency at 36 per cent and cost savings at 24 per cent, were more persuasive.

And don’t mention drones.

In Australia, businesses believe improving connectivity will bring more success, but future-gazing technologies such as drones do not hold value:

28 per cent of Australian respondents believe improved connectivity will be most key to the future of their business success

more than 2 per cent believe drone deliveries will ever be key to the success of their business logistically.

"As on-demand consumerism continues to rise, this is a crucial moment to ensure small businesses feel empowered to succeed in e-commerce," Ashwani Gupta, the senior vice president of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi LCV business, says of the global result.

"We’ve heard from business leaders themselves that prioritising smarter technology for fleets will help to reach their customers with increased speed and scale - factors that are becoming ever more crucial for survival in this space." 


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