Lease and Fleet Review – February 2016: On a High
The Lease and Fleet industry is on a high, fuelled by cheap oil. One may wonder how long it will last, but its effect is pretty clear. Green initiatives and innovative schemes are on the backburner. All the energy is flowing into deals and acquisitions, new markets and expansions. As show by this review of some of the most noteworthy news items of the last two months.
DEALS & ACQUISITIONS
LeasePlan UK has dropped its previous tyre supplier Kwik-Fit in favour of a multi-supplier approach. Its supplier will be the Fleet Tyre Network (FTN), which consists of ATS, National Tyres and Autocare. FTN will provide all of LeasePlan's 147,000 vehicles in the UK with tyre replacements and repairs.
British car insurance specialist Willis has taken over the remaining shares of French broker Gras Savoye, which insures around half a million vehicles in France, Central and Eastern Europe, and Africa.
Lex Autolease has selected the AA to provide roadside assistance to its UK clients, under a three-year contract.
Fleet Complete, the North American provider of fleet telematics, GPS tracking, and mobile workforce technology, has acquired Dutch fleet telematics company Itmobile, which has nearly 1,000 customers, primarily in the Benelux region.
Fleet Assist has won a new long-term agreement with business mobility services Alphabet, for the provision of service, maintenance and repair (SMR) network management services. Fleet Assist has a nationwide network of more than 7,000 service outlets which undertake SMR work on vehicles supplied to customers across the UK.
ALD Automotive won a major tender of more than 950 vehicles in Full Service Leasing for Compania General de Electricidad (CGE), in Chile.
ALD Automotive has also acquired 100% of the shares of the Hungarian fleet management company MKB-Euroleasing Autópark and its Bulgarian subsidiary MKB-Autopark. MKB-Euroleasing Autópark owns a total fleet of nearly 9,400 vehicles, 7,700 in Hungary and 1,700 in Bulgaria.
Press reports in the Netherlands suggest that Dutch bank Rabobank is in preliminary talks to sell its leasing unit DLL, the parent of car leasing multinational Athlon International. Neither Rabobank nor Athlon have confirmed the reports.
NEW MARKETS & EXPANSIONS
TomTom has announced that German car manufacturer BMW has chosen its traffic information system in Russia, New Zealand and Australia. The service is already available as part of the ‘Connected Drive’ offer on BMW vehicles.
Following its record year in 2015, independent European fleet management provider Fleet Logistics is looking at a year of consolidation in 2016, along with its first operational foray into the huge US fleet management market, working with a large international chemical company with a global fleet of around 8,000 vehicles.
The recent partnership between PSA Bank and Santander Consumer Finance is continuing to make progress. New operational entities have been announced for both Italy and the Netherlands, following earlier ones in France, Spain, the UK, Portugal and Switzerland.
Athlon Sweden and Daimler Fleet Management (DFM) have signed a strategic partnership aimed at the Swedish Fleet Market. The partnership will allow DFM to offer multi-brand car lease solutions to its customers. Athlon will do the back-office work, from vehicle purchase to end-of-lease disposal.
Infiniti, ALD Automotive Deutschland and Infiniti Financial Services have created a new full service leasing label called Infiniti Fleet Services. The timing is carefully chosen as Nissan’s premium sub brand has just launched the compact Q30, a challenger in the European premium C-segment.
A cab-hailing partnership founded last year by US company Lyft and China's Didi Kuaidi, has announced it has signed up two new members. App-based provider Ola, operating in India, and Grab Taxi, covering six southeast Asian countries, have now joined forces in the battle to beat Uber Technologies for world domination.
Fleet and mobile asset management solutions company MiX Telematics, has entered into a partnership in the UAE with Global Beam Telecom, which forms part of a plan to expand its partner network in the region.
NEW SERVICES & PRODUCTS
An updated UK driving licence checking module from Chevin cuts the time for checks with the DVLA from two days to a maximum of one hour.
Dispatch Filter is another Chevin tool, this one helping fleet managers schedule jobs for mobile workers through their smartphone or other mobile device.
French vehicle servicing company Point S will expand its network with so-called City stores in metropolitan centres, small towns and rural areas to get closer to its potential customers. These Point S City outlets will offer basic maintenance services. The goal is to open between 20 and 30 Point S City branches every year to cover 140 zones in which it is currently not represented.
Due to popular demand, LeasePlan France will revive a private lease system which it abandoned in 2006 because of national tax regulations.
Private lease in Belgium is taking off in a big way: Opel, Fiat, Nissan, Renault and Volvo have all recently started offering the option to Belgian private consumers.
Replacing tyres at home or at work is now possible via ALD Automotive France, without an additional cost. The company is offering the service in conjunction with Allopneus.
ALD Automotive Netherlands and Business Lease NL are some of the first leasing companies to receive Keurmerk Private Lease (KPL), a certificate by VNA, the Association of Dutch Car Lease Companies, and De Consumentenbond, the Dutch Consumer Advocacy Organisation. The KPL label is designed to guarantee that consumers are using a private lease product that is high-quality, safe, responsible and reliable.
Rental company Avis has announced an extension to its loyalty programme, Avis Preferred. An additional 11 countries have been added to the list of territories where this scheme is in operation. These are mainly in Europe: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Turkey.
Cox Automotive Canada and its Manheim Canada operations have teamed up with XLane to design a new dealer-to-dealer online auction tool called InstantAuction. Toronto-based XLane is known for its cloud-based mobile solutions for the automotive industry.
Chicago-based car lease and fleet management specialist Wheels Inc. has become the first U.S. fleet management company to offer a programme to help its clients manage reimbursed vehicles to the same professional standards as their company-provided fleet.
NEW FACES & MILESTONES
Intelligent Telematics has a new CEO. Saleem Miyan's task is to help drive the 3G vehicle camera and tracking solutions provider's global investment and growth plans.
Baudouin de Mégille has been appointed Director for the European Fleet Management market at Ubeeqo.
Patrick McGillycuddy is the new head of group fleet services at Volkswagen Group UK, a position was previously hold by Steve Catlin.
Tim Meadows is the new director of account management at epyx, the supplier of e-commerce platforms for the fleet and dealer sectors. He spent eleven years at LeasePlan, most recently as brand director for the Automotive Leasing public sector division.
Luc Soriau is new General Manager of Arval Spain. Mr Soriau previously worked at TEB Arval in Turkey as Managing Director and Member of the Board.
Chuck Redden is the new CEO of AutoTec, the U.S. group with 60 years' experience in providing insurance, credentialing, vehicle history and claims admin services to the automotive industry.
James Jin is the new Director Fleet Procurement and Operations at pharma giant Merck, which has a 22,000-vehicle global fleet.
Element Financial has named Bill Cieslak and Paul Seger as the new leaders of its Fleet Management Remarketing Team. Both will share the title of Vice President, Remarketing. More recently, the company has announced a total split between its fleet management and commercial finance businesses, to be completed by the end of this year.