Fleet News

CSMA cans 60,000 car debis deal

THE Civil Service Motoring Association has called a halt to a trouble-hit partnership with debis Car Fleet Management that offered its 345,000 members discounts on new cars and access to cheap finance. About 60,000 members a year buy a new car via the association's scheme - but the service has been stopped after a string of problems.

DaimlerChrysler leasing subsidiary debis provided CSMA members with a range of services - from new and used vehicle sourcing to finance and disposal - at special rates under its Best Choice scheme. Clients were also offered preferential finance rates on new cars, including personal contract purchase. On launch however, the firm was swamped with enquiries from members and was forced to take on five times the intended number of staff.

The CSMA acknowledged there were a few 'operational problems' and has now decided to pull the plug on the partnership. The problems hint at the difficulty that could face the contract hire industry if personal leasing schemes have the rapid take-up predicted by some players.

Mark Nagel, car department manager for the CSMA, said: 'The key reason we brought the scheme in-house was because of its disappointing performance. Debis is financially orientated and was looking at the funding and financing of vehicles as much as supply of new cars in its own right. By bringing the scheme in-house that is something we will move away from.'

Debis commented that the partnership was not a permanent arrangement and said as the CSMA has launched its own used car operation, a move back in-house was an increasingly logical step.

The CSMA would not provide figures on the number of cars supplied to members through its schemes, but Nagel said he intended to ensure many of the 60,000 annual sales went through the association.

Already it has organised deals with Chrysler/Jeep, Fiat, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Proton, Renault and Mazda, while talking to other manufacturers.

Association members are current or former civil service employees and pay £12 a year to obtain access to the association's buying power.

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