Fleet News

Merger shuts books for Robins and Day

PEUGEOT-OWNED Robins and Day Leasing, the multi-marque leasing firm, has closed to new business as its operations are merged with Coventry-based Peugeot Contract Hire in the latest upheaval for the contract hire market.

The move comes amid a move by Peugeot to consolidate all its contract hire operations into one business and is expected to lead to the manufacturer-owned dealer group winding down its contract hire book over the next three years.

Robins and Day Leasing, which stands 37th in the FN50 with 6,800 contract hired vehicles in a total fleet of 8,000 cars and 500 light commercial vehicles, will continue to serve its current customers until contracts end.

It is uncertain whether the leasing division will close down once it has cleared its current customer base, but already 12 staff have been laid off. A further 35 will continue at the operation.

All new customers requiring a Peugeot will be directed to Peugeot Contract Hire, but a decision has yet to be made on partners that will receive orders for other makes of car.

Peugeot Contract Hire has a fleet of 50,700 vehicles and was placed 10th in this year's league table, but combining the two fleets would see it claim ninth spot, ahead of Bank of Scotland Group companies Godfrey Davis and Bank of Scotland Vehicle Management.

Nick Prescott, general manager for Robins and Day Leasing, said: 'With the uncertainty over residual values, Peugeot is trying to consolidate all its operations into one area, but we are carrying on as normal for current customers.'

The news comes as Reg Vardy, the UK car dealer, warned that both full-year and first-half profits would be lower than expected as a result of instability in the market and falling used car prices hitting its contract hire operations, which led to it setting aside £4.2 million.

The company said its full-year operating profits would now be about £29m down from £32m. The half-year figure, he said, would be about £13.5m, whereas the company has previously reported a figure of £14.9m in the same period a year earlier. Both revised figures excluded the exceptional costs of £4.2m.

The expenses relate to the Motability scheme, through which the firm agreed to buy back cars provided to disabled people. Falling residual values at Vardy Contract Motoring also hit profits, chairman and chief executive Peter Vardy revealed.

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