Rental companies’ car-sharing
clubs grow

The car-sharing club operated by rental
group Hertz, called Connect by Hertz, has opened new operations in
Berlin and Madrid.

The club operates on a pay-as-you-go basis
which Hertz described as “an economical, convenient and
socially-conscious alternative to car ownership”.

Hourly rates include insurance, fuel,
roadside assistance, maintenance and cleaning.

Hertz plans to open further Connect by Hertz
locations around the world in 2010.

Senior vice-president of global sales Robert
Stuart estimated that the market for car clubs in Europe will grow
to 3 million people in the next 10 years.

Europcar, too, has launched a car club
concept in the UK, following on from the success of a similar
scheme in France, started in 2008.

EuropcarClub is aimed at households which
are looking to get rid of a second car which is only occasionally
used, and at businesses which “don’t want the financial commitment
of leasing or buying company cars”, Europcar said.

However, critics of the clubs claim that
they will only ever provide an alternative to car ownership to
people living in high-density population centres – and not for the
country as a whole.

Their business usage, too, is limited at
present by availability of vehicles and club networks – although
some car clubs have linked up with businesses to provide
replacements for pool cars during office hours, with vehicles then
available for hire by local club members outside the hours of

Lookers predicts positive
results for 2009

Car retail group Lookers has said that it
will exceed analysts’ expectations in its annual results for 2009,
following a strong performance in the final quarter of the

New car sales were up by 13 percent in 2009
compared with the previous year, Lookers said, in an overall market
down 6 percent.

Used sales were also strong at the group,
and showed a 6 percent year-on-year increase.

On the increase

BCA sold to Hertz

Auction house BCA has been sold by its
owner, Montagu Private Equity, to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a
private equity group that owns the Hertz car rental chain, in a
deal worth £390 million.

Three other private equity houses also bid
for BCA, it was reported.

Montagu paid £450 million for BCA in 2006,
but will book a profit on the deal, as it will retain the
auctioneer’s property division, worth an estimated £250

BCA also recently won a deal to become the
sole remarketing partner for contract hire company LeasePlan, the
second-largest operator in the UK, with a fleet size of over
120,000 units.

It is estimated that the agreement will
cover some 30,000 vehicles annually.

The deal will run for an initial three
years, with option to renew, with the decision made following an
“exhaustive” tender process, BCA said.

It added: “Channels will include multiple
providers of physical auction with live online capability,
non-auction wholesale, fixed price sales and affinity sales.”

BVRLA updates broker

The code of conduct for the British Vehicle
Rental and Leasing Association’s (BVRLA) broker members has been
revamped and strengthened, in order to help improve professionalism
within the fleet intermediary sector.

“The enhanced code places more emphasis on
after-sales service and requires all BVRLA leasing broker members
to play an active role in dealing with customer queries and
complaints,” the association said.

The updated code is the forerunner to a wave
of improvements the BVRLA aims to make in this area during

Included in the code’s next steps are the
introduction of a new accreditation process for lease brokerage
staff, and a set of best-practice guidelines focusing on whole-life
contract management.