19 Sep 18

Europe welcomes new car lease player Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions

Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions might not immediately ring a bell in Europe. Still, the Japan-based company has existed for more than 40 years and has a solid footprint in the UK and more recently also in the Netherlands and Poland. Now Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions is ready to expand further in Europe, starting with 10 countries in the coming years. Exclusive interview with Simon Oliphant, head of Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions Strategy Division, and Nick Salkeld, advisor to the Supervisory Board.


When did your international expansion plans begin?

Simon Oliphant: In 2015 our Japanese parents said they’d like to expand their vehicle solutions business beyond the UK. Hitachi has five main regions, Japan being the domestic market, the Americas, Asia, China and Europe, which was really only the UK. I spent the first year doing research, I looked at 48 countries, narrowed it down to 24, visited 18 and prioritised a list of countries.


Why does Hitachi Capital want to expand?

S.O.: Japan has an ageing, declining population, so if companies like Hitachi want to continue to expand they’ve got to look outside Japan for international and global expansion. Hitachi has got the financial stability and strength to do it.


How many vehicles does Hitachi Capital operate today?

S.O.: Overall, we’ve got about 240,000 vehicles under some form of leasing across all five regions. In Europe, we’ve just under 100,000 full service leasing units in the UK, Netherlands and Poland. Japan has a very well-developed full-service leasing company, called Hitachi Capital Auto Lease, with just under 100,000 units, and then we’ve got a relatively small full service leasing company in Singapore. The US is a very different market to Europe. There’s not a company car market or culture there, so people tend to privately lease their cars while the big fleet providers mainly provide vans and trucks. For international customers, though, a presence in the US is important.

Where will you expand internationally?

S.O.: Europe is the priority. Customers want us to be able to support them across Europe. We believe we need to be in at least 10 countries to do that. We are in the UK, Netherlands and Poland, and we plan to be in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Spain, maybe Portugal. That gives us a credible European offering and mirrors our customers’ presence as well.


How quickly will your plans materialise?

S.O.: By the end of our financial year, in March 2019, we hope to have a presence in Germany.

Nick Salkeld: That, of course, then gives us the opportunity to expand into Austria and Switzerland. If you’ve got a presence in Germany, you can then potentially look to acquire other businesses more readily in those countries.


How will your branding change as you acquire new businesses?

N.S.: In the UK, we are Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions and in Poland we’re Hitachi Capital Polska, and we’ve just rebranded our Netherlands companies Hitachi Capital Mobility Netherlands. Hitachi Capital is always the unifying brand.


Picture from left to right: Nick Salkeld - Simon Oliphant.


In the October magazine of  Fleet Europe, Simon Oliphant and Nick Salkeld will unravel Hitachi Capital's view on:

- The customer profile

- The evolution of the leasing product
- Global expansion

- Growth opportunities


Don't miss this issue, it is the 100th Fleet Europe magazine. Order your copy here or send a mail to Laura Petit,

Authored by: Steven Schoefs