Fleet News

Rover loses as Abbey National signs Ford and Vauxhall deal

ABBEY National has signed a two-year dual badge deal with Vauxhall and Ford, marking the end of a long-term buying agreement with Rover. About 2,000 cars will be bought from the manufacturers for Abbey National staff in a deal negotiated by the bank's subsidiary First National Vehicle Contracts.

Rover caused concern because of the lengthy wait for the 600/800 replacement, to be called the Rover 75, which should be available about March, and dropping residual values for the current models because they are about to be replaced. It will run under its Whitechapel Car Ownership scheme, a company-sponsored personal leasing programme, which removes benefit-in-kind tax liability for drivers in part by making them the owner of the vehicle.

Using the system keeps the opportunities for volume discounts, although manufacturers had been uneasy about the scheme, with one saying it did not supply price cuts to individuals. However, FNVC said it encountered no problems during negotiations. Currently, 1,800 cars are in the Whitechapel scheme, from a fleet of 2,500, but the order allows for other divisions joining the initiative to take on cars.

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