Fleet News

Bulk-buy warning to independent hire companies

STRUGGLING independent contract hire firms could fall victim to 'bulk buying' by bank and building society-owned rivals desperate to build their fleet size. Dealer-owned contract-hire operations will be the most vulnerable to bids from big rivals, as they struggle to cope with dropping car sales with buyers staying away in expectation of price cuts, and residual value losses on contract hire stock.

Ken Trinder, director of c.2K Automotive Solutions, said: 'Barely a day goes by without the phone ringing and another dealer-owned contract hire operation being offered for sale. These will be the source of consolidation during 2000. These contract hire operations will be offered at the sort of prices that mean major contract hire companies start to buy them in bulk.'

Pawan Pandya, managing director of Paragon Car Finance, agreed that 2000 would be dominated by an acquisition climate with dealers selling off their contract hire operations. But he added: 'Many fleets are one car only and of no interest to the large firms, but small fleets will still need a service and that is our target market.'

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