Fleet News

Shell shocks contract hire industry with new vehicle leasing scheme

GLOBAL oil and gas giant Shell is set to launch a new vehicle leasing company in the UK in a bold move that will send shockwaves through the contract hire industry. Fleet NewsNet has learned that the multi-billion pound energy firm is recruiting staff for the new venture that will include a focus on personal leasing schemes, with sales channels based around dealerships.

Richard Whitton, Shell vice president of vehicle finance, is examining the motor-related financial services area, but declined to comment on the initiative. Fleet NewsNet understands, however, that Shell aims to challenge market leaders in the leasing sector, in a move certain to provoke a new round of upheaval in the industry. It already has the key advantages as a start-up through its extensive database of fuel card users, its high-profile name and AAA credit rating.

Shell in the UK is part of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, one of the world's biggest companies, with annual sales proceeds of about £119 billion and pre-tax profits of about £15 billion. The new venture is thought to be part of Shell Capital, the global financial products business of the Royal Dutch Shell Group of Companies.

Working with other group businesses, their customers and other industry players, Shell Capital offers financial products and services, ranging from the financing of oil and gas producers to credit cards. Products include the pan-European fuel card business euroShell, that has more than four million cardholders in the fleet, private and road transport sectors.

A spokeswoman for Shell said: 'We have launched an insurance product in Holland and a credit card. There may be other areas that are investigated, but it is quite a broad area. Clearly, we are looking at developing new areas, but we are not about to announce something else.'

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