A weekly round up of the latest fleet news including half-year results for VW Leasing and Lex Autolease, job appointments at Škoda, Burnt Tree and Isuzu, SsangYong’s offer, SHB’s agreement, and deals for Iveco and Renault.

Volkswagen Leasing profit drops 89%

Volkswagen Leasing, the fleet division of Volkswagen Financial Services, saw an 89% year-on-year drop in pre-tax profit to €24m for the first six months of 2013 despite a 9.4% increase in income for the period.

The company attributed the decline, down from €218m in the first six months of 2012, to an increase in lease expenses.

Income for the period was €5.8m, up €500m on the H1 2012 figure. As much as €400m of the increase was attributed to proceeds from the sales of ex-lease vehicles and the remaining €100m from revenue from existing lease contracts.

Expenses for the period were up by €500m to €3.2bn and include the residual values of vehicles removed from stock and service lease expenses. Depreciation on leased vehicles increased to €2bn from €1.8bn in 2012.

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The firm’s portfolio of leased vehicles was 969,000 vehicles, up from 956,000 as of 31 December 2012, and the total net value of the book grew by €600m, or 3.6%, to €17.4bn over the first six months.

Fleet growth for Lex Autolease

UK fleet lessor and management firm Lex Autolease grew its fleet by 4,300 vehicles in the first six months of 2013 to a total of 273,000 vehicles under management.

The half-year growth figure is the first since Lex and Lloyds Autolease merged in 2009 as the joint company settled on a strategy to consolidate its fleet of 360,000-vehicles at the time.

Lex’s parent company Lloyds Banking Group reported a 6% year-on-year rise sales for the asset finance department which includes the fleet brand.

Tim Porter, Lex Autolease’s managing director, said: "The return to fleet growth is an important milestone for Lex Autolease.

"It has taken a great deal of hard work and dedication from staff during the last four years to integrate two large and complex businesses."

Porter added demand for vehicles, light commercial vehicles in particular, is linked to the wider economy and Lex’s customers are feeling more positive about prospects and are more willing to invest in their fleet.

Two senior fleet appointments for Škoda UK

Škoda UK has appointed Patrick McGillycuddy as head of fleet and Henry Williams as national fleet sales manager in a bid to grow the Volkswagen-owned brand’s fleet market share.

McGillycuddy joined from Vauxhall where he was national corporate sales manager and aims to grow Skoda’s fleet business by developing a "sustainable local business offering" across the brand’s retail network. Williams leaves Audi UK to head up an eight-strong fleet sales team.

McGillycuddy said: "With almost half of the volume coming from the fleet market in 2013, business sales remain a key focus for Škoda. We look forward to building on the overwhelming success the brand enjoyed last year.

"With such a strong offering for both the contract hire and leasing and SME markets, the future looks incredibly bright for Škoda."

Burnt Tree hires BDM

Vehicle rental firm Burnt Tree has appointed Maurice Wilson to its contract hire division as business development manager.

Wilson will report to Mark Howell, director of the division, and predominantly cover the Midlands area of the UK.

Wilson joins following 18 years’ experience in the commercial vehicle and trailer industry, including a decade as business development manager at HillHire Ryder.

Howell said the appointment was part of the company’s "ambitious plans" to increase its market presence.

Murphy promoted to MD of Isuzu

Pete Murphy, currently head of the Isuzu Trucks (UK) (ITUK) National Fleet Division, is set to become the next managing director of the manufacturer’s national operation.

Murphy will work with and then replace Nikki King, who retires as managing director in October. King will then continue as Honorary Chairman of the company.

Murphy originally joined ITUK from Lex Transfleet as a fleet sales executive in 1998.

SsangYong servicing offer on LCVs

South Korean brand SsangYong is offering five years’ free servicing on the Korando CSX 4×4 and Sports 4×4 double cab pick-up, and the Rexton CS 4×4, registered in August and September.

All SsangYong LCVs already come with a five-year limitless mileage warranty.

Paul Williams, chief executive of SsangYong Motor UK, said "many small businesses, tradesmen and one vehicle owner-operators are struggling economically," and hoped the offer an alternative to "make do and mend" vehicle management.

SHB and TRACKER team up for telematics provision

Fleet management firm SHB Hire has announced a partnership with vehicle tracking provider Tracker to offer telematics options to fleet customers.

SHB currently uses Tracker technology for route planning and driver monitoring, and will offer its customers a package of vehicle provision, fleet management and telematics, based on an 11-year relationship between the two companies.

Nicky Simpson, head of fleet solutions for SHB, said: "We’ve been working with TRACKER for a number of years now to monitor the vehicles used by our mobile technicians and logistics teams. The information fed back to us has enabled us to improve response times, enhance route planning for deliveries and achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption."

Renault and Iveco UK deals

Renault Trucks has signed a deal to provide an additional 10 trucks to the 38-strong fleet of bulk powder distributors Damac Transporters while Iveco UK, subsidiary of the Italian manufacturer, has delivered four Stralis Hi-Way tractor units to Jeffreys Haulage through local dealer Sherwood Truck and Van.

The Renault Premium 460.25 6×2 tractor units, supplied through distributor Thompson Commercials Hull, have been furnished with discharge equipment and air compressors by WG Tankers.

Two of the Iveco vehicles are additions to the distribution and warehousing firm’s 33-strong fleet, while another two replace old trucks, and all four are supplied on Iveco elements repair and maintenance contracts.