7 jan 19

Hitachi Capital acquires Maske Fleet in Germany

Hitachi Capital Corporation has acquired Maske Fleet GmbH, a vehicle rental and fleet management company with activities in Germany, Austria and Denmark – another step in the company’s march towards Europe-wide coverage. 

Hitachi Capital is the vehicle solutions strategy division of Hitachi, the Japan-based engineering and electronics multinational. Until recently, Hitachi Capital’s only European presence was in the UK. 

Vehicle solutions
For Hitachi, ‘vehicle solutions’ (not just short- and long-term rental, but also other services including maintenance and insurance) is a group common strategy, executed in collaboration with partner companies in Japan and through its existing operations in the UK, and recently also in the Netherlands and Poland.

For indeed, as Simon Oliphant and Nick Salkeld of Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions (UK) revealed in a recent interview with Fleet Europe, the company is actively pursuing expansion throughout the continent.

Overall control
At the end of last year, Hitachi Capital operated vehicle solutions not just in the UK (as Hitachi Capital), but also in the Netherlands (as Hitachi Capital Mobility Netherlands) and in Poland (as Hitachi Capital Polska). Between Christmas and New Year, Hitachi Capital Polska announced that it wanted to buy an 11% stake in Polish fleet management company PCM, with the aim of gaining overall control of the company. 

With its 100% acquisition of Maske GmbH, Hitachi Capital now has a presence on the German market (as Maske Fleet) and the Austrian one (as Maske Langzeit-Vermietung). 
Obvious target
Germany was an obvious target for Hitachi Capital: “In Germany, new vehicle registrations and leasing penetration have increased for five consecutive years, since 2013, making it the largest market in Europe and therefore a key country for Hitachi Capital’s European expansion strategy”, the company said in a statement on its takeover of Maske.

Established in 1959, Maske provides car and LCV rental and fleet management solutions to corporate customers in Germany and Austria. Maske is also a leader in electric mobility: it was the first fleet company to bring the Maxus EV80 to the German market. 

Service centres
The company, with assets worth €136.5 million and around 215 employees, operates through 12 service centres in key cities throughout Germany and Austria (including Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Hanover and Vienna) and offers a wide range of flexible products and advanced systems. 

Hitachi Capital’s aim is to build on this starting position and develop into a leading player in vehicle-related mobility services in Germany and Austria. Maske has a small presence in Denmark, which is to be an entry point for Hitachi Capital’s expansion into the wider Nordic market. 

For Hitachi Capital, the acquisition of Maske is just one stage the continued expansion of its geographic presence and scale throughout Europe. Its platform aims to support local and international customers – not just large corporates, but also SMEs and private consumers – throughout the continent.

Authored by: Frank Jacobs