16 Apr 19

A. Van Groenendael, CEO Arval: "Incredible growth potential as mobility integrator"

Fleet Europe talked to Alain Van Groenendael, new CEO and Chairman of Arval. The complete interview can be read in the upcoming Fleet Europe magazine – order your copy now. But here already a first glimpse of the new path Arval will take. 

Arval becomes a mobility integrator

“Over the next six months, Arval is going to change its positioning: we’re going to become a major player in mobility – an integrator, even. Of course, in partnership with other players,” reveals Alain Van Groenendael. 

In the Netherlands, Arval has partnered with mobility card provider XXImo. Is it a model for Arval's future cooperation with mobility partners? “We don't have a magic solution for the moment,” says Van Groenendael. “But it's important that we're observing, testing, as with XXImo for example.” 

Partnering for mobility innovation means accepting the possibility of trial and error, Van Groenendael: “Very few businesses succeed in everything they do. You have to develop concepts and test them. Some will work, others won't. Specifically for mobility, we're looking to co-develop solutions with others, including public transport authorities and most of all cities. We're closely monitoring the Smart City movement, for example.”

Private lease 

“Arval has a long tradition serving corporate clients, who are very happy with our service. That will continue, but we'll also enter into newer customer segments,” says Van Groenendael – who finds the distinction between B2B, B2C and B2E segments somewhat academic, by the way: “In essence, the relationship is with a driver, so in the end it's always B2C.”

Be that as it may, Arval's private lease business has a clearly-defined success rate: “Private lease is growing at an annual rate of 45%, and I'm confident that will continue for some years. It started in markets like the UK and the Netherlands, but now there's demand all over Europe.”

Arval's EV ambitions

“When it comes to EVs, we want to do better than the market by double as much”, says Arval CEO Alain Van Groenendael. “If the market does 3%, we'll do 6%. And so on, for each of the coming years.” The company also wants to halve the share of diesels in its fleet, from almost 90% in 2017 to no more than 45% in 2021. 

Out of India, into Latin America

At the end of 2018, Arval decided to leave India. “We'll still serve our present clients until the end of our contract. And international customers in India will still be served via our partners within the Element-Arval Global Alliance,” says the CEO. 

Why leave? “We tried for 11 years, but India is just a difficult market when it comes to full service leasing. Compared to the size of the country and its automotive market, full service leasing market remains very small and the preferred funding modes for corporates remain outright purchase and financial leasing. Leaving was not an easy decision, but in the end, the market was not fitting with Arval growth strategy.” 

Now the Nordics are covered, Europe is largely conquered territory. But Latin America is still up for grabs. “Sooner or later, we'll be opening a subsidiary in Colombia, a promising market. That indicates how important the region is for us.”

Image: Alain Van Groenendael, CEO & Chairman, Arval

Authored by: Steven Schoefs