Fleet News

GMAC jumps on acquisition trail and appoints Bob Rider as remarketing executive

General Motors Acceptance Corporation plans to target pan-European fleets as part of a major European expansion programme.

The all-marque financial subsidiary of General Motors is also creating an international sales team dedicated to pan-European fleet deals.

Speaking exclusively to Fleet News Europe, Ed Sabisky, managing director of Masterlease Europe, GMAC's full service leasing organisation in continental Europe, said the company's growth would be fuelled by both acquisitions and new start-ups - but that there was an urgency to have a presence sooner rather than later in certain countries.

'We must get into Belgium and Holland soon,' Sabisky said, 'but it will be through acquisition because I can't imagine a start-up would pay.'

He added that the company would 'aggressively' pursue acquisitions in the markets where it believes it has to be.

Currently, Masterlease Europe has operations in Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Sabisky is keen for a bigger European presence as more and more companies opt for leasing arrangements he said because 'cash is tight', particularly as a result of an economic recession.

In some cases, companies are also seeking global deals although many fail, especially if central purchasing teams do not have the backing from individual countries.

However, pan-European fleet customers are not always the most profitable for companies like Masterlease.

'Those sorts of companies are usually bigger customers so demand lower margins,' Sabisky explained. 'Pan-European customers give us the volume, but not the margin.'

Many fleets, Sabisky added, are unaware of the type of fleet savings that are available. 'One company I spoke to recently has a fleet of 1,200 vehicles in France but didn't realise it could get a discount from manufacturers,' he said.

Sabisky said Masterlease now planned to be 'more proactive' with its customer base and that pan-European leads would come from customers themselves and Masterlease staff in individual countries. 'We will now start mining the customers of individual countries,' he added.

Last year, as previously reported in Fleet News Europe, Masterlease bought Polish leasing company Futura Leasing and Prime car Management and will use its presence in the country as a 'strategic footprint' for further expansion in Eastern Europe.

'Poland is going very well,' Sabisky said, 'there has been a recession but the leasing industry on the back of that recession is growing quite dramatically.'

Sabisky admits that predicting residual values in new markets is no easy task but he said Masterlease has its own European remarketing team which makes its own predictions.

'It gathers all the data it can, taking into account economic factors and supply and demand factors,' he added.

  • Meanwhile, Masterlease has announced the appointment of Bob Rider as European remarketing director to develop its end of contract business.

    Rider's role, said Masterlease, is to 'establish a European remarketing strategy to ensure every vehicle has a disposal plan in place before the leasing agreement is signed'.

    Rider has held a number of senior posts within the UK rental and leasing industry, including fleet planning manager for Avis, general manager Avis Car Leasing, director and head of operating lease division LeasePlan, managing director of Masterdrive and, most recently, managing director of Fiat Auto Contracts.

    'He will be responsible for ensuring the end of contract process is uniformly effective, with a strong focus on identifying appropriate sales channels to maximise the return from the sale of used vehicles,' the company, part of General Motors-owned GMAC Financial Services, added.

    Rider will also work closely with the Masterlease board and the operating country managers in residual value forecasting, vehicle maintenance and other operational processes.

    Masterlease managing director Ed Sabisky said: 'In just six years we have built a network of operations in eight European countries and plan to move into new markets over the coming year.

    'As part of our development it is essential that we have a European remarketing manager to oversee this area of the operation.'

    Rider will also work closely with General Motors Europe to assist in the development of residual value forecasting and the improvement of used car values of all GM products.

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