Competitors cautious and confident about emergence of ‘NewALD’
Diplomacy is not just a feature of international politics. Lease companies are also pretty good at it – for example, when discussing the acquisition of one of their competitors by another. Reading between the lines, we can say the other players are approaching the emergence of ‘NewALD’ with caution – and confidence.
ALD and LeasePlan, two of your competitors, are joining forces. What’s your first reaction?
Jochen Schmitz (Head of International Fleet, pictured left): “In principle, we welcome any new form of competition. New competitive situations lead to new products and other innovations. This benefits all market participants – and especially customers.”
Alain Van Groenendael (CEO, pictured middle): “We don’t comment on the activities of our competitors.”
"We really like competition. We therefore see this matter not just as a challenge but also as a great opportunity. We can’t and won’t comment any further.”
Looking at the medium term, what could be the impact of this acquisition for the fleet and lease landscape?
Alain Van Groenendael: “The least we can say is that the leasing and mobility industry is attracting more attention than it ever has. Considering both that the market is buoyant and that Arval is a successful, stable, strong and experienced company, this is good news for us!”
Volkswagen Financial Services
Jochen Schmitz: “We don’t foresee that this joint venture will lead to any fundamental changes in the leasing and fleet market, or in customers’ purchasing or mobility behaviour. Mainly, and for the time being, there will obviously be a shift in market share. However, the extent to which the market will change in the longer term: that cannot yet be assessed.”
How will the emergence of ‘NewALD’ impact your own strategy? Does it create opportunities for you?
Christian Schüler (CEO Athlon, pictured right): “At Athlon, we focus on growing by shaping sustainable mobility. By 2025, we aim to have a multi-brand fleet of more than 500,000 cars and vans, of which at least 50% will be electric. The pandemic has proven that flexibility is key and our customers need an experienced partner by their side to achieve their ecological and economical ambitions.”
“We put our customers in the center and are working closely together to transform their car policies into mobility policies. Our Athlon Team brings in a lot of knowledge, experience and passion to support them in offering an attractive mix of mobility solutions to their employees. On top of that, we are speeding up the digital transformation. With our strategy, we are set to seize the opportunities for sustainable growth - together with our customers.”
Volkswagen Financial Services
Jochen Schmitz: “With 22 million contracts in our portfolio worldwide, including around 4.8 million leased vehicles as of the end of the third quarter in 2021, Volkswagen Financial Services remains the largest automotive leasing company in Europe. Accordingly, we maintain our strategy, which has proved very successful to date: we continue to focus on the digitization of our product portfolio, on growth in the important used-car segment, and on the fleet business.”
“To align even better with our customers, we’ve defined three customer segments as part of our European restructuring. These are: Dealerships, Digital and Direct-end Consumers, and Fleet Customers. All our activities will focus on targeting these customer groups, helping them with each their specific needs. By following this strategy, we stick to our goal of becoming the world’s largest provider in the fleet industry.”
Alain Van Groenendael: “Arval’s growth will remain organic. This won’t prevent us from carrying out external and highly targeted growth operations, if opportunities should arise. With Arval Beyond, we have a strong strategic plan, which will continue to fuel the evolution of our business, accelerate both innovation and the development of new technologies, help us create ambitious partnerships, and generally continue to strengthen our business.”
“I believe that Arval has many strengths that appeal to our existing and future customers, including our own solidity and stability, our global presence via the Element-Arval Alliance, and the fact that we belong to the BNP Paribas Group.”
Authors: Steven Schoefs, Frank Jacobs