BMW Group’s Alphabet has started leasing used cars on corporate fleet contracts in Belgium, as the lessor looks to get a hold on market share beyond the brand-new segment.

The vehicles, which can be picked up “right away” by corporate customers’ employees, are no more than 24 months, clocking a maximum of 80,000 km (49,710 miles). This translates into reduced costs for corporate lessees, as well as savings on the tax sides, thanks to the vehicles currently available falling under Belgium’s older CO2 legislation.

Contracts run for 36 months and cover 20,000 km a year. Companies can terminate the contract after two years. Asked whether the company plans to offer used vehicles in other markets in the future, a spokesperson wrote in a statement: “We see this as our pilot project – we will observe how it will be accepted and then align our further plans.”

The second-hand pilot is a first for Alphabet, looking to mitigate corporate customers’ concerns over an increase in fleet running costs as tougher emission measures are rolled out across some of the main fleet markets in Europe.

Second-hand cars are also available on a personal lease basis directly between Alphabet and employees. The direct-to-employee sale is a common model in the American fleet market, which is now being imported across the pond and marketed as an affordable way for smaller businesses to procure company cars.

“Companies have no time to lose, and they want to be able to offer new employees a company car as quickly as possible,” said Marc Vandenbergh, director for sales and marketing at Alphabet Belgium. “Rapid switching is important, also in the mobility approach. Used car leasing is the ideal option here.”

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“Holistic” mobility provider

Alphabet is seeking to transform from a supplier of physical assets to a provider of “holistic” mobility plans for businesses, taking cue from similar moves by rivals. The second-hand scheme also offers customers the possibility to temporarily switch to a different vehicle in case of need – a feature reminiscent of consumer-oriented “car subscriptions”.

The lessor has launched a coporate car sharing scheme called “AlphaCity” and a mobility budget product called “AlphaFlex”. It has also set up a “mobility consulting tool”, pushing the relationship with customers beyond mere fleet management towards a deeper analysis of employees’ movement, with an eye to offer ancillary products around company cars.

Other corporate fleet providers have been moving in the same direction. Earlier this year, the Sixt group brought together rental and leasing under a bundled package aimed at corporates, also covering a mobility budget for car-sharing and ride-hailing.

In a similar vein, Societe Generale’s ALD Automotive partnered with Finnish app Whim to provide bundled passes while also its car-sharing service to the platform.