Fleet News

Branson set to move into fleet

SIR Richard Branson is planning to move into the fleet market via internet and direct phone operations with cheap cars, contract hire, finance, insurance and a swathe of aftersales services, including disposals. Virgin Cars, to be launched at the end of April, says it will offer vehicles with on-the-road prices up to 30% lower than those through UK dealer networks - achieved by negotiating direct with manufacturers and importing from European dealers and agents.

However, the company is refusing to reveal what deals fleets will be offered and exactly what services customers could expect. A Virgin spokesman said: 'We will be talking to fleets but we cannot talk about discounts nor timing as we are still formulating our strategy.' Virgin has said it expects direct sales operations to dominate the new car market within three years, although fleets continue to fight shy of direct selling

Announcing the new group, Virgin boss Branson said: 'The industry needs shaking up because prices are too high and service is mediocre. It is ripe Virgin territory and I believe we can shake it up.' And Virgin Cars chief executive officer Ian Lancaster said: 'You would be insane to buy a new car in the UK right now.'

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