The name change follows the acquisition of Deutsche Bank's international leasing and fleet management operations in the UK, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic, by Societe Generale.
The French banking giant already had fleet operations in France, Italy and Morocco and is intent on investing in the growth of its leasing division which will adopt the ALD Automotive name, below a central holding company called ALD International, headquartered in Paris. Its fleet throughout Europe now numbers about 300,000 vehicles, including 140,000 in Germany.
The companies acquired from Deutsche Bank were members of the Interleasing international fleet leasing alliance, but have now joined the Global Fleet Services alliance.
Lex Vehicle Leasing is the GFS partner in the UK, raising potential conflicts of interest with BCH Vehicle Management which is now also part of GFS.
But Jon Walden, managing director of Lex Vehicle Leasing, welcomed the additional coverage and scale that the ALD companies will bring to GFS, which now has a fleet in excess of one million vehicles worldwide. He said one of GFS's continental partners already had an operation in the UK, and that it created no difficulties for Lex.
Jean-Claude Renaud, head of ALD Automotive said: 'We have an excellent relationship with Lex and we are going to manage perfectly with the fact we have two GFS members in one country. Customers will be directed to each one depending on their needs.'
He added that Societe Generale intends to be among the three leading European players in the leasing market. It now controls 6% of the European market, putting it fourth behind LeasePlan (595,000 vehicles), ARVAL PHH (536,000 vehicles) and Avis Fleet Services (part of GE Capital Fleet Services) in Europe with 375,000 vehicles.
Keith Allen, managing director of BCH Vehicle Management, said: 'We have been quite purposefully keeping a low profile in the past, but we have continued to grow, particularly in retail operations. But now we will raise awareness among the corporate market and the rebranding offers a perfect opportunity to do this.'