11 Sep 03

Paul van de Wiel (Unico Carlease ): Tailor-made solutions to international lease problems

Fleet Europe: Why was Unico Carlease established? Was it a reaction to the increasing number of international requests or was it to give an international touch to the local partners?P. van de Wiel: «The various partners of the alliance have two things in common: Firstly: they share one and the same strategic concept, which consists of being a strong and reliable local partner. Secondly: most of them are associated with a co-operative bank, which often provides them with medium-sized customers who attach a lot of importance to service and flexibility, deserving a customer-oriented approach. The joining of forces has enabled the various local leasing companies to offer solutions across the borders. But the first goal of each partner-leasing company is to develop locally. This is actually highly appreciated by our clients. By all means, such a concept offers one big advantage. It makes the local headquarters of our clients a 100% client of our locally operating leasing companies. Another aspect consisted of course of customer requirements. More and more clients wish to organize an international fleet. Even though the international deals presently account for only 3% of our total turnover, the growth of this market is a fact. Thanks to our international approach, it is also easier for each partner to bind new clients.»FE: In which countries does Unico Carlease offer turn-key lease solutions?P. van de Wiel: «We are presently active in 9 European countries, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, UK and France being the most mature markets or, in other words, bringing in the most clients. These are also the countries between which the most «lease traffic» takes place. Next to this, the centre managed by our Austrian partner is very experienced, centralizing all lease requests for Eastern Europe. This means that we can also offer solutions in countries such as Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, in which many of our customers are establishing new companies. It is also worthwhile mentioning that we have partners in Italy, Denmark and Finland and, on the other side of the ocean, in the USA and Canada.»FE: How do you deal with tender requests? P. van de Wiel: «We receive a lot of tender requests through our sales channels. Responding to such tender requests is being co-ordinated by one of our national partners. This will often be in the country in which our client has his headquarters. However, it may equally be in the country with the highest number of leased cars on the road. The partners participating in a tender will mutually appoint a tender leader, who will then act as the contact person to the client and who will put down the European part of the contract.»FE: Do you apply one single price? P. van de Wiel: «That depends on the client himself. To most of our clients, paying the correct price for the whole of the contract is particularly important. Our clients can indeed understand that the price of a lease car in France is different from one in Germany or Denmark. There are of course also clients who want to get a clear idea of the price in advance. Still, the price is not always the criterion in this business. Service and flexibility are certainly as important. Our partners have years and years of know-how in the local field. From the point of view of service provision, this often plays a decisive role in customer canvassing.»