“Managing an LCV fleet is a very complex business”
“LeasePlan clearly is the driver in the LCV lease market”, says Thomas Schröder, Global Account Director for international clients in Central Europe and Asia/Pacific. His responsibilities obviously include LCVs: “Increasingly so, as was also proven by the growing interest for LeasePlan's LCV Event in Breukelen, mid-March”.
How important are LCVs in LeasePlan's portfolio?
“They make up about 20% of our 1.55 million vehicles. And if you focus on our international customers, those with fleets of more than 1,500 vehicles, it's more than 30%. And growing”.
“But beyond the pure numbers, we also get more and more requests for consultancy, for policy advice and for OEM tenders related to LCVs. That's important, because it plays to the strength of our cross-functional approach. For LCVs, you need a lot of expertise. It is about getting and keeping the right van on the road in a cost-effective way. This is a very complex business, much more so than managing a passenger car fleet. That’s because you also need to consider things like the right fittings for each specific use and managing vehicle off-road time. And let’s not forget the driver, who plays an important role in how the vehicle is treated and what looks like at the end of the term.
That's why you have dedicated LCV teams in certain markets
“Yes, in mature markets like the UK, which is the leader in Europe when it comes to LCV experience and expertise. And in many other countries in Europe and overseas. . These teams look after LCV-specific issues which are relevant in the process of selecting the right van and in making it ready to do the job. Another example is managing maintenance costs, which requires specific expertise. For all these tasks, you need LCV experts, and we're rolling out this full model in more and more countries”.
As you said, the LCV business is very complex. So why focus on it?
“Because our analysis showed a significant share of our fleets are LCVs. And because we witnessed opportunities in the segment. LCVs are very often purchased outright, while operational leasing could be much more beneficial for those clients. Secondly, we find it motivating to work with our clients, supporting them with our expertise. Identifying significant opportunities in areas such as driver behaviour and training, managing downtime of the vehicle and so on, adds another level of value for the client”.
Which sectors do your clients come from?
“The logistical industry, of course. But other sectors are coming up strong. There's home delivery, for instance and the internet is an important engine behind that development”. Other sectors the utility industry, and in general all LCV fleets which are business-critical, LCVs for service technicians, for example.
Where else do you expect growth to come from?
“We are very focused on SMEs. Our LCV business for that segment is growing in double digits right now. Why? It's about service delivery. LCV downtime costs between €750 and €950 per day. We can reduce that downtime, and save our customers real money. That's just one reason why more businesses are considering leasing vans instead of buying”.
What's your view on telematics?
“We like it, and we'd like to do even more of it.. More data allows you to better manage a vehicle's downtime. Telematics is more accepted in LCVs than passenger cars and it is easier to be implemented in, say, the UK than in Germany. However, we are progressively rolling our telematics solutions in Europe based on the positive experience in the first pilot countries”.