Fleets in the UK have expressed little interest in sourcing cars from continental Europe, preferring to focus on factors such as dealer service.
The long-running dispute over new car pre- and post-tax pricing differentials between the UK and Europe was reignited when Britain's Department of Trade and Industry expressed Government concern at the price of many new models.
But multi-marque contract hire company Interleasing has received little interest from fleet customers for its European purchasing service, according to Len Clayton, chief executive officer, global full service leasing at General Motors Acceptance Corporation (owner of Interleasing).
'We looked at operating a sourcing programme from mainland Europe last year, but the response to it from UK-based customers was nominal,' he said.
'We had far more discussions about cars being delivered on time and serviced properly by the relevant dealer network in the UK, rather than on price.'
Interleasing found a general cynicism among British fleets that UK dealers would fully support cars sourced from abroad, with the majority of clients deciding that the price differences did not justify overseas sourcing for mainstream company cars.
Significant savings were only available on more exclusive and expensive cars.
'We marked down the residual values of imports before we put them on to contracts, and we supplied fewer than 100 vehicles this way, out of more than 20,000 last year,' said Clayton. (December 2001)