Fleet News

Prime Minister opens new Northgate HQ

FOR a Prime Minister frequently accused of a tendency towards excessive central control, Tony Blair made no secret of his astonishment at a new vehicle tracking telematics system.

From 250 miles away in Darlington, the Prime Minister watched on screen the progress of a Ford Transit negotiating the junction of Downing Street and Whitehall.

'This is amazing,' said Blair, perhaps thinking of the benefits of keeping a closer eye on a pair of Jaguars during the next election campaign. Blair was in Darlington with Health Secretary Alan Milburn (whose constituency covers Darlington) for the opening of vehicle hire specialist Northgate's new £1.5 million headquarters.

Northgate used the occasion to show the Prime Minister its new Norfleet vehicle monitoring system that can track vehicles on digital maps via satellite in real time, and provide detailed management reports.

'How this company began and grew is a remarkable story,' said Blair. 'It has been an extraordinary achievement through immense hard work in a very competitive market.'

Michael Waring, Northgate's non-executive chairman, said: We are currently just over half way through our five-year strategy for growth, which aims to double the size of the business by 2004.

'We're on track to achieve our aim of a 50,000-unit vehicle fleet and a network of close to 100 locations within this timescale.'

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