'We always said we would be in the corporate market and stay there. It's a very important market for us,' he said. 'There is no doubt that a dedicated fleet funding operation can only strengthen Rover Group's presence in the corporate sales sector, and most importantly, provide our customers with the highest possible levels of service.'
But Hasselkus reiterated Rover's determination to stay away from fast cycle daily rental business, where the manufacturer has already reduced its sales because of low profitability. In fact, the Group's fleet sales fell more than 16% last year compared with 1995, from 130,308 to 109,220.
This fall continued over the first four months of this year, with Rover's fleet sales down 12%, from 37,308 in the January to April period of 1996 to 32,832 in the same period this year. Hasselkus warned this trend may continue, due purely to the manufacturer withdrawing further from the daily rental sector. 'We sold fewer cars overall last year but made more money out of the ones we did sell,' he said.