BMW was still clarifying the legalities of the new arrangements, but it is understood that with effect from May 1998, BMW Finance, Rover Finance and a new multi-marque fleet leasing outfit will all report into the new umbrella structure - BMW Financial Services (GB). As a consequence of the new set-up Rover's 50% stake in British Car Contracts will be sold to its partner Lombard, giving the finance company 100% ownership in addition to its 50% stake in Lex Vehicle Leasing form April 1.
Lombard will retain all BCC's contracts but Rover's existing retail finance operation will become part of BMW Financial Services in May 1998. But in April this year, Rover will launch a fleet contract hire company to operate all Rover fleet management and contract hire business which will in turn merge with Rover Finance in May 1998.
BMW is finalising plans for a new centralised customer service centre which will employ dedicated staff for BMW and Rover customers. Several existing BMW and Rover Finance employees will be redeployed in the new centre along with additional staff to accommodate the anticipated increase in business.