Fleet News

Budget returns to its roots with major site sell-off

BUDGET Rent a Car is going back to its roots in the UK as part of a reorganisation aimed at attracting more business, including fleet customers. The firm is shedding the majority of its corporately-owned sites in favour of moving back to the franchise based network that was used when the firm first arrived in the UK in 1966.

The firm insists that it will maintain the same standards of service for private and corporate customers at franchises that were maintained at corporate sites. Budget will shift towards franchising on a Europe-wide basis, where it currently has a mix of 1,200 franchised and corporately-owned sites.

In the UK, the firm has already halved the number of sites it owns from 50 to 25 and it plans to retain only the major city and airport based businesses throughout its 130-site UK network.

The company vehemently denied rumours that is was up for sale as it tried to reorganise to maximise profitability, and also said job losses were not expected.

Terry Clark, vice-president of franchise management at Budget International, said: 'With all the rumours going around in the market place at the moment about Budget being sold or buying someone else, we think this announcement to sell the operations will strengthen our brand. We wanted to clarify our position.'

When the firm reported its third quarter profits last year, with operating losses of more than £10 million, it revealed plans to increase its royalty fee base and reduce capital investment, while still maintaining a strong brand.

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