Fleet News

Don't write us off, says 'dying species'

INDEPENDENT contract hire firms are fighting for their future amid predictions that they will soon fall prey to banks and car manufacturers. Major independents have already been sold, including BCH Vehicle Management (bought by a division of Deutsche Bank) and last month Arriva Automotive Solutions was sold for £513 million to General Motors Acceptance Corporation.

Len Clayton, managing director of AAS, took the announcement of the sale to brand the independent contract hire firm as a 'dying species'. This week, he predicted that consolidation was creating a gulf between the large bank or automotive-owned contract hire companies which had the financial muscle to invest and grow their fleets and their smaller independent rivals which, starved of the massive cash flow needed to grow, would see fleet sizes stagnate.

c.2K Automotive Solutions and Jessups Vehicle Contracts, however, dismiss his comments as 'fatally flawed', saying there is strong demand for the services of independents that ensure they will increase in size. They argue that the massive fleet sizes of the major bank and automotive-owned companies leave some clients feeling they do not get the personal service they wish.

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