Fleet lessor Alphabet has launched a new type
of corporate car-sharing scheme in the UK, designed to cut the cost
of pool car fleets.

The BMW-owned company’s AlphaCity product
offers a fleet of cars on a contract hire lease which can then be
sub-let to employees for private use.

AlphaCity was launched last month in Germany
and piloted in France in 2010 in conjunction with Accenture, one of
Alphabet’s clients, as a “real alternative to grey fleets,”
according to Kit Wisdom, mobility solutions manager for Alphabet

Alphabet intends to launch the scheme in all
19 markets in which it operates.

Young clubbers

Speaking to Motor Finance, Joe
Pattinson, marketing manager at BMW Financial Services, said the
scheme was about “changing the way young people own and use cars,”
and therefore more about utilisation than congestion.

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Companies using AlphaCity can lease a fleet of
BMW and MINI models which operates as company car pool on a full
maintenance lease plus and an additional service charge for the
AlphaCity elements such as the reservation facility, on-board
vehicle management technology and vehicle cleaning.

The cost of the lease can then be subsidised
by allowing registered employees to reserve and operate the cars
for personal use, as they would in a car club.

Combating the grey

Richard Schooling, chief executive of Alphabet
GB, said the scheme was designed to increase the flexibility,
efficiency and cost-effectiveness of corporate mobility.

“Whenever we have raised the concept in
discussions, our customers have been hugely enthusiastic about its
potential to meet the mobility needs of their non-company-car
drivers,” he said.

Alphabet predicted the scheme could result in
efficiency savings of up to 40% through the reduction in the use of
grey fleet and taxis and the private use function could cut costs
by a further 30%.

The AlphaCity cars record the telematics of
each booking using BMW’s ConnectedDrive on-board system and
companies can configure aspects of scheme to their requirements,
such as availability for private use and cost.

Speaking at the launch in London, Wisdom
described the scheme as “parachuting a bespoke car share scheme to
each company.”

A full report from the AlphaCity launch
will be published in
April’s issue of

Motor Finance