A weekly round-up of European and UK fleet news featuring delays for EU CO2 rulings, French EVs in Indianapolis, Hertz 24-hour service, Belgian software changes, logistic partnerships in Romania, Alphabet’s electric cars, Mann Island on dealer confidence, Mercedes-Benz UK PSV reshuffle, moves at Renault and Acfo, and auctions of Lex and LeasePlan vehicles.
By Sophie Exton, Jonathan Minter and Richard Irvine-Brown
Germany delays EU CO2 fleet ruling
EU rules to reduce CO2 emissions from an average of 132g/km to 95g/km for every fleet car in the Union by 2020 have been stalled by German officials.
Final negotiations over the ruling were apparently concluded on Monday 24 June, with a vote due on Thursday 27 June, only for lobbying from Germany, home of multiple prestige car brands, to delay any decision, at least until after Germany’s domestic elections in September.
As well as believing the deal would favour manufacturers of smaller cars in other EU nations, German representatives were supposedly unhappy expansion of the ‘supercredits’ scheme to favour ultra-low-emission vehicles was not included in the deal.
Indy 500 French EVs
French electric car-sharing service Autolib will make its US debut in Indianapolis.
Autolib will supply up to 500 electric cars for use in the city and invest around $35m (£23m, 27m) in the project. In December, Indianapolis pledged to replace its entire fleet of city and police cars with hybrids and plug-ins by 2025.
French investment and industrial holding group Bollore, owner of Autolib, received a loan of approximately 100m last October from the European Investment Bank to expand the electric car-sharing service in Paris.
Hertz launches Hertz24/7 rental service
The Hertz Corporation has launched Hertz 24/7 in 1,800 locations in the US, France, Germany, UK, Spain and Australia, and equipped 35,000 vehicles for 24/7 rentals.
Hertz hopes to have the service available to the majority of the US and 500, 000 24/7 enabled cars worldwide by 2016.
KBC’s Miles conversion
Belgian contract hire and leasing company KBC Lease Group, and Group member KBC Autolease, is to upgrade to Sofico’s Miles fleet management system from its previous Leaseback offering.
The company intends to run the new system in parallel with Leaseback from April 2014, and to go fully live by October.
KBC started using Sofico’s Leasebase system in 1990, maintaining a fleet of 46,000 vehicles on full service.
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Fleet Logsitics’ Romanian partnership
Fleet management provider Fleet Logistics has announced a partnership in Romania with Bucharest-based fleet management specialists Globexpert.
Between them, the two companies will provide fleet management services to international customers who have subsidiaries within the country.
Separate pilot projects have already been established for two existing international fleet clients with operating divisions in the country.
Alphabet to launch EV fleet solution
BMW-owned fleet lessor Alphabet has unveiled its AlphaElectric electric vehicle (EV) fleet product, due for launch in the UK in September and in other European markets by 2014.
The AlphaElectric package involves personalised EV consultancy, the provision of charging solutions and flexible mobility packages to provide alternative transport where EV is not appropriate.
Mann Island identifies funding gap
UK car finance intermediary Mann Island has said dealerships are losing opportunities through lack of confidence to discuss business finance.
The Merseyside-based broker said there was a "clear funding gap" between the optimism recorded among small businesses in the UK and finance available to them. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, confidence among small businesses was at its highest level for three years in Q2 2013 but, according to the Bank of England, funding to small businesses fell by £300m in Q1.
Such businesses, which typically run a fleet of less than five cars, are being overlooked by those dealers without an F&I expert and who assume their customer base is "consumer dominated", according to Mann Island. Fleet and business accounted for 53.2% of all new registrations, according to the latest statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Rygor buys EvoBus
Rygor Commercials, the largest dealer group within the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles network, has moved into the bus and coach market with the acquisition of the southern aftersales centre of EvoBus Daimler UK in Southall, Middlesex.
The company will be retaining all current EvoBus employees at Southall and is looking to make a significant investment to expand and improve services at the facility.
Tim Stacey, managing director at Rygor Commercials, said: "This is an extremely exciting development for the company. It enables us to use our expertise to support PSV (public service vehicle) operators with Mercedes-Benz buses & coaches and Setra coaches for the first time, and fits perfectly with our existing business looking after the needs of Mercedes-Benz truck and van customers."
James replaces Jenner at ACFO
Damian James, head of operations at Bracknell Forest Council, has moved from deputy to chairman of ACFO, the UK representative body for fleet decision-makers.
James has replaced Julie Jenner, who has served as chairman since 2006, and Caroline Sandall, fleet manager at Barclays Bank, became deputy chairman.
Jenner will continue at ACFO working on the relationships it holds with public bodies.
Wrench joins Renault Trucks
Renault Trucks UK has appointed Ian Wrench to replace Chris Sharp as commercial aftersales director.
Starting 3 June, Wrench will be responsible for developing the strategy and management of all of Renault Trucks’ aftersales activity in the UK.
Wrench joins Renault Trucks from Pullman Fleet Services, part of the Wincanton Group, where he had been general manager since 2007.
Lessor-remarketer auction successes
Two auctions held by remarketers in partnership with fleet lessors have each been heralded as a success by the participating companies.
The third annual Lex Autolease ‘mega sale’ at Manheim Colchester saw more than 800 vehicles, or 82% of stock, sold. Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Audi each sold 200 vehicles. The average sale against CAP clean was 97%.
Meanwhile, the LeasePlan Ready to Retail sale held at British Car Auctions Nottingham saw 103 vehicles, 94% of stock, sold. Over two-thirds of the approximate 300 bidders were online and accounted for roughly half of the sales.
Analysis of buying and spending trends in the UK fleet market will be published in the July issue of Motor Finance magazine.