Fleet News

Virgin set to launch new leasing arm

VIRGIN Cars is to launch a contract hire and leasing division aimed at the sub-100 fleet market in a move that gives the sector a timely shot in the arm.

The decision by the internet car retailer to enter the market comes just weeks after the shock announcement that one of Britain's biggest leasing companies, CitiCapital Fleet, was closing.

Virgin Cars announced it will target small to medium-sized businesses with fleets of between five and 100 vehicles.

Virgin Cars' business development director Martin Elton said: 'Research is currently being undertaken to ascertain exactly what the final product will look like but it is expected to be a competitively-priced premium service offer. Areas of innovation that will differentiate the offer from existing providers are currently under development.'

The company's fleet finance partner is Bank of Scotland Vehicle Management, part of the HBOS group, which has a fleet of more than 67,000 cars and is ranked eighth in the FN50 league table of the UK's top leasing companies.

Elton added: 'We have made a significant impact in the new car market and have been instrumental in changing the way new cars are bought since we launched two and half years ago.

'We believe there is a demand in the five to 100-vehicle fleet market for a premium service product and we look forward to shaking up this market too.'

When Virgin Cars was launched three years ago by tycoon Sir Richard Branson, it said its long-term aim would be to move into the fleet market. At the time, the company refused to reveal what full services fleets would be offered, but since 2000 it has launched a range of services targeting fleets, including a PCP scheme aimed at former company car drivers who have taken the cash option.

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