Stijn Otten and Robbert Van Muyden (Business Lease) : “Our goal is to be authentic and to innovate !”
Dutch leasing provider Business Lease, active in The Netherlands, Central and Eastern Europe, is a division AutoBinck, a family-owned holding active in car retail, car parts, smart mobility and car leasing. We asked Stijn Otten, Innovation and Business Development Director, and Robbert Van Muyden, International Sales & marketing Director, what innovative projects Business Lease is working on.
FE: What are the goals and ambitions of Business Lease? In what way do you differ from other leasing providers?
R. Van Muyden: We manage over 47,000 vehicles, of which 17,000 in the Netherlands, 13000 in the Czech Republic, 6000 in Poland, 4,700 in Slovakia, 4000 in Hungary and 3000 in Romania. That makes us neither the largest nor the smallest in lease-land, which allow us to be flexible and innovative and offer scale-benefits and professional tools at the same time. In order to make a difference Business Lease wants to innovate and find solutions for mobility issues that cannot be solved with the classic company car. We want to be authentic, and be the first to respond to changing demands in mobility, with new products and solutions. Traditional thinking is not our thing and we do not fear to sacrifice sacred cows if necessary.
FE: Recently, Business Lease developed a number of new services and initiatives, what can you tell us about them?
S. Otten: We started by identifying and closely monitoring five major trends in the automotive sector: Car Sharing, the Connected Car, the Autonomous Car, the Electrical Car and Integrated Mobility. Business Lease provides one or more solutions in each of those areas.
Let’s take Car Sharing for example. We pioneered in 2016 with private leasing, through our Privatelease.com-platform, we allow people to share their Privatelease.com car on multiple platforms and use them to make money, an innovative and experimental approach that other lease providers did not offer. Quite rapidly, we saw that possibility was often used, and that a lot of those cars rented out to private persons were used for services like Uber or SnappCar. Uber, for example, also noted that, and together with them we were able to put together a solution, in which Uber guarantees the payment to their driver, which formed some guarantee for the driver who –in many cases otherways- would never be granted one by absence of a steady income. That product exceeded our expectations rapidly, and today in Amsterdam alone, several hundreds of those contracts have been signed. The same project is also on offer in Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia and is increasingly popular. That rapid expansion to other countries of a solution developed in one of our branches is one of the advantages of our international scope.
Another example is SnappCar, with whom we developed a leasing solution (http://privatelease.snappcar.nl ) that offers a car in operational lease as from 99,- euros per month, granted that the car is rented through SnappCar at least two days monthly.
R. Van Muyden: The freedom that allows us to develop new solutions and innovate at high pace is only possible because our structure is lean. We are no big corporation but a family owned business focused on innovation and rapid implementation of new products. It is not our main goal to create high margins on the short term but to propose added value and conquer new markets. We see ourselves as an incubator, a nest for new initiatives. It is our way to compete with the giants in the sector that do not offer that flexibility or rapidity.
FE: You said the second trend was the Connected Car. How does Business Lease tackle that trend?
S. Otten: Business Lease developed Connected Care, for our own use, a telematics- and connectivity solution that connects all Business Lease-vehicles with our server, of course with the utmost respect for our customer’s privacy, at no supplementary cost. That project outgrew us and from that initiative a new completely independent company MOOVE was born, within our mother company’s Smart Mobility division. MOOVE is now completely separated from Business Lease and is providing services to other fleet service providers, like us, too.
FE: And the Electric Car, the Autonomous Car and integrated Mobility-trends?
S. Otten: Same thing here. We want to be the first to offer valuable added solutions in those domains. That way, Business Lease was the first company to offer leasing of electric cars, many years ago, and we were the first to present Tesla’s in lease in Central and Eastern Europe. Today, we are one of the first leasing providers that have pre-ordered Tesla’s Model 3. Again, it is not about being the first, but to be the smartest adding real value to our customers using new (technological) developments Our authenticity is also visible here, since we were proposing EV’s long before all others did. We are also working on a solution that allows customers to opt for autonomy-enhancing options on their cars (active cruise control, automated parking) at no extra leasing cost, because of the lower accident- and repair risks that emanate from that kind of equipment.
R. Van Muyden: And for what integrated Mobility is concerned, together with the other divisions of mother company AutoBinck, Business Lease is actively developing products that marry the leasing car to a bicycle, public transport and so on, and even link a private lease car to a company car. We also offer consultancy to identify the mobility needs of our customers and propose an adapted solution, not necessarily meaning a car…
photo: Robbert Van Muyden and Stijn Otten (Business Lease)