Fleet News

Online service heralds Northgate growth plans

SPECIALIST vehicle rental giant Northgate has launched a new online service as part of its bid to double the size of the business in five years. The site, www.wannavan.co.uk, allows customers access to the Northgate network of hire centres to reserve vehicles, book deliveries and compare prices online.

Drivers put in all the details online, while there is a special phone line for vehicles that need to be ordered more quickly. The new service is part of a growing product range which could include European expansion.

The growth contributed to a jump of 20% in turnover for the year to April 30 to £261.8 million from £218.3 million. Pre-tax profits were up 11% to £27.1 million from £24.3 million. In the past five years, the firm's fleet has grown 220%, including an 11% hike last year, to 36,000 vehicles. Northgate plans to grow its network to 52 locations, with 10 to 12 more planned in the current financial year. About 80% of the fleet is made up of light commercial vehicles of up to 3.5 tonnes, through main suppliers Ford, Iveco, Mercedes and Vauxhall. Residual values have been 'soft' the company reported, but because of its Norcom disposal centre for refurbished vehicles, launched in May 1, last year, the firm said it was optimistic of breaking even on vehicle disposals.

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