Richard Heijnsbroek, Business Lease Poland: “Anticipating the change of mindset towards usage”
Vehicle lease specialist Business Lease – with headquarters in the Netherlands and a strong geographic focus on Central and Eastern Europe - manages around 6,000 vehicles in Poland, mostly under operational leasing, but also with fleet management and short term rental. Richard Heijnsbroek has been in charge of Business Lease in Poland since 2012. His main objective is continuing the road towards a healthy and balanced growth.
What is your target market in Poland, and how big are the fleet market and the operational leasing market?
"We don’t believe in targeting only, large, or only medium companies, but in having the right mix. We see considerable potential with SMEs, however, where the client relationship is slightly different. The total fleet under full service leasing is around 134,000 vehicles. Business Lease is positioned at number 8 in this market at the moment."
As Poland continues to make strong progress economically, is this being reflected in the appetite for outsourcing fleet operations to full service leasing, rather than outright purchase, for example?
"Our market growth is around 10%, which is higher than GDP growth, so yes, this is a blossoming segment. But in all countries, the move from purchasing to leasing is slow to start. What we are seeing at the moment is a higher degree of attention being paid to private lease. This indicates a change of mindset towards usage and then mobility as a service and so on. Even sole traders are moving in this direction, but this business goes to the dealer network rather than established leasing companies. These trends are interesting for us, as the product gains in recognition and acceptance."
You are not yet in the top 3 – what are your specific advantages with regard to the competition?
"Firstly, a strong focus on the quality of our services, which we believe is fundamental. This is how we communicate – on the quality of the service delivery. We are also keeping a very watchful eye on developments in the fields of mobility and connectivity, however, as we need to anticipate customer needs and upcoming trends."
What are your objectives for 2018 and how will you achieve them?
"The main goal is to continue our road towards success. We want to grow further in operational leasing, of course, but also in fleet management and short term rental. This will be done through competitive pricing and a high level of convenience for our clients."
What are the key trends, apart from a move to leasing, which you see in the Polish market?
"The government is putting a lot of emphasis on electric vehicles, and we expect to see this translate into building the infrastructure soon. Along with this, car-sharing initiatives are growing in cities. The government wants to have a million EVs on Polish roads by 2025, and is also looking at the possibility of producing them here."
Do you offer services in these areas, and in private lease?
"We are not in car-sharing, but we do offer EVs, as much as the current infrastructure is there. We have a private lease solution, and we operate this for employees of a few clients. But these don’t change our overall priorities. We offer these services when clients request them."
You personally have experience in Slovakia and other Eastern European countries. What makes Poland unique and interesting?
"The product and its delivery are similar in most markets, but the difference comes in market growth. Many of these markets are growing quickly, but especially Poland has shown impressive growth in the last 10 years. This makes it an interesting environment for a company such as ours to develop and deliver services."
Do international companies need a manager on the spot in Poland?
"Well the full service lease product has quite a lot of components, with quite a few parties involved. And while there are considerable advantages to be gained from centralised international procurement, it is always good to be on the spot, and to see and know who you are dealing with, to know what you are asking for. You can then understand what sort of service to expect."
Do user-choosers go for smaller models of luxury cars…?
"No, we are not seeing this, people like to go for larger cars. But the concept of user-chooser is not so developed here, so you see many identical cars ordered in one go, and made available to those employees who are eligible. This of course puts pressure on residual values, if a number of identical cars come to the market at the same time, and this has to be reflected in the original quote. This also restricts the volume price advantage at the time of purchase."
Looking at the total cost of ownership configuration, what elements of the TCO need more attention from fleet managers?
"This highly depends on the strategy of the customer and the vehicle fleet composition. But generally speaking, the areas linked to remarketing and insurance deserve a more thorough attention."
Picture copyright: Business Lease Group