A weekly roundup of fleet news from around the UK and
UK fleet industry
welcomes Barclays funding pledge
The wholesale banking division of Barclays
Bank has stepped up to plug the funding gap in UK fleet finance
with a £20m asset finance facility to Pendragon Contracts.
Barclays Corporate described the deal with the
fleet leasing arm of automotive retail firm Pendragon PLC, which
has the potential to total £20m, as a major milestone in the bank’s
strategy to increase the level of financing it provides to the UK
contract hire industry.
Alex Brown, head of Asset Finance at Barclays
Corporate said: “The fleet market is extremely important to us and
asset finance, as a product, has a crucial role to play in the
recovery of the wider UK economy.”
Neal Francis, managing director of Pendragon
Contracts, said the funding would enable the company to expand its
service offering and grow its contract hire portfolio.
John Lewis, chairman of the British Vehicle
Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), welcomed the news: “It is
great to see that all of the hard work we have done trying to bring
in new funders to the vehicle rental and leasing market is finally
“Public deals like this send the right message
but there are a lot of other deals going on behind the scenes which
are combining to create a much healthier and more competitive
funding environment for the industry.”
RV forecasts cool, rental rates
The rate of increase in forecasted residual
values (RV) slowed at the end of 2011, according to the European
Leasing Index survey of six European nations.
In Germany RV forecasts rose by only 0.3%
between October and December 2011, having increased by 5.3% over
the previous 12 months; in the UK RV forecasts were down 4.6% in
quarter four, having increased by 4% over the previous 12 months;
Italy was the only nation of the six to see forecasted RVs grow in
Q4, by 0.8%, having slid 2% over the previous 12 months.
Across 2011, leasing rates increased by 4.6%
in Portugal and by 4% in France, remained nearly stable in the UK,
but fell 1.9% in Italy, 2.9% in Spain and 3.2% in Germany.
Arval opens Danish office
Arval, the pan-European fleet leasing
subsidiary of BNP Paribas, has expanded into Denmark with
headquarters in Herlev, near Copenhagen.
As part of Arval’s strategy to reinforce the
brand in Northern Europe, Denmark was identified as a market with
170,000 corporate vehicles and a potential 63% of corporate vehicle
registrations to be for cars under full-service lease contracts by
Frank Verver, regional manager for Arval in
Denmark, said: “By penetrating the Danish market, we will be able
to offer our international customers the possibility of integrating
their Danish fleet in their international fleet, which would be a
major advantage for them, especially in terms of cost.”
Arval already has subsidiaries in 18 European
countries and has partnerships in countries where it has no
Philippe Bismut, chief executive of Arval
said: “Europe is a key economic and geographic zone within which we
want to offer all our European customers the same level of
services, innovation and consulting, in whichever country they
Clarity needed on red tape cut for
The UK government’s decision to reduce
motoring red tape will benefit fleet operators but raise
administration issues which ministers must resolve, Acfo, the
association of car fleet operators in the UK, has said.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced
it would the scrap or improve 142 road transport regulations
following last year’s launch of The Red Tape Challenge by Prime
Minister David Cameron.
Among the new measures, requirement for
drivers with a credit card-sized photo driving licence to hold a
paper counterpart highlighting driving category exemptions and
licence points will be scrapped.
Additionally, hard copies of V5C vehicle
registration certificates, which highlight vehicle ownership and
specific details appropriate to the individual vehicle, will only
be issued to fleet operators when needed.
Acfo chairman Julie Jenner said more
information was needed on how information relating to points and
eligibility will be made available to employers responsible for
occupational road risk compliance and added clarity was needed to
explain how fleet operators could obtain a copy of a driver’s V5C
license when necessary.
“Reducing bureaucracy is nearly always a
welcome move as it almost invariably results in improvements in
efficiency and thus savings in administration time and costs,” said
Jenner. “However, in relation to the removal of these two
regulations fleet operators need to be assured that inefficiencies
will not result so more clarity from the DfT is required.”
Ice on the roads
UK road transport specialists Euroway will
supply frozen meat wholesaler Tadmarton Products with a fleet of
Isuzu Forward refrigerated trucks on a six-year contract hire
The deal means Euroway, which recommended the
use of Isuzu’s 7.5t trucks, now supply the majority of Tadmarton’s
10-strong fleet operating across the Midlands and South West of
Included in the deal is Euroway’s FleetSure
maintenance programme, an option also taken up by Chiltern Cold
Storage in December to service and repair its fleet of seven Scania
trucks for four years.
Luggage from Catalonia
Developed by Boston’s MIT-Media lab and a
consortium of seven Basque firms, the Hiriko (Catalan for “urban”)
foldaway car was presented to journalists this week by European
Commission president Jose Manual Barroso.
The 1.5m-long, door-less, two-seater Hiriko is
expected to go 120km (75 miles) between charging, has its motor in
its right-angle-turning wheels, collapses like a child’s buggy and
is expected to be available by 2013.
The markets aimed for are those cities which
operate bike fleet hire. Representatives of Barcelona, Berlin, Hong
Kong and San Francisco have all shown interest in the €12,500
machine, with negotiations begun for orders in Boston, Brussels,
Dubai, London and Paris.