6 Oct 22

Belgian used-car lessor Lizy enters France

Lizy, the used-car leasing subsidiary of Belgian automotive group D’Ieteren, has received an injection of €40 million in fresh capital, which it will use to enter the French market, as of today. It’s only the first step in Lizy’s larger ambitions: to become the European leader in used-car leasing. 

New vehicle deliveries are still delayed due to supply chain issues – and then there are inflation and other incentives to control cost. So, fleets are looking for alternatives to ‘classic’ leasing. Used-vehicle leasing is an increasingly credible alternative. 

Cheaper, faster, shorter

Lizy was focusing on used-car leasing long before it became fashionable. The company was launched in 2019 within Lab Box, D’Ieteren’s start-up incubator. Lizy’s offer soon proved successful, especially with SMEs looking for cheaper, faster and shorter alternatives to traditional vehicle leasing products. At present, the company has about 1,500 corporate clients.

Eventually, the company also wants to offer corporate fleet management services via its online platform; but its first expansion is geographical. According to Sam Heymans, Lizy co-founder and CEO, the company will focus on France during this year and the next, but it’s already eyeing the German and UK markets as well. 

Business model

On its first venture outside its home market in Belgium, Lizy initially wants to replicate its original business model. Although it originally considered a B2C offering, Lizy offers its used-car leasing product via the B2B channel (this ends up being B2B2C, however). In the interests of sustainability (and profitability), Lizy hangs on to its vehicles for about 8 years – roughly double of the average new-car lease. 

The €40 million in fresh capital will help fund marketing, adapt the product, and expand the team from 35 to about 50. The money comes from a consortium of investors led by Alychlo, the investment vehicle led by famed Belgian businessman Marc Coucke; and including New Alpha, a French fund. 

Operational drift

This is not Coucke’s first mobility investment. He has also backed Sono Motors (solar-powered EVs), Ebusco (e-buses and charging systems), and The Italian Sea Group (yachts). Following this investment round, D’Ieteren remains Lizy’s largest shareholder, but no longer holds a majority of the shares. 

Operationally, the business model is also drifting away from D’Ieteren, Mr Heymans told Belgian business daily L’Echo. Barely 20% of the 850 cars available on Lizy’s Belgian platform are supplied by D’Ieteren Auto. The rest is from third-party dealers and traders. That trend will only accelerate once business gets going in France, which Lizy predicts will be its bigger market – the company predicts its turnover will triple in 2022. 

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Frank Jacobs