Fleet News

Leasing firms cash in with refurbishment

REFURBISHING vehicles before sale is a vital weapon for contract hire companies to ensure prompt disposal, good residual values and competitive rental rates for fleets. Used car buyers could waste a whole day at an auction site looking at unsuitable vehicles. What would be more attractive is for cars to have a guarantee that they are in a retailable condition.

The claims come from Gerry Lynch, sales and marketing director of EuroFleet, provider of logistics for the automotive industry.

He said: 'The main auction houses offer their own smart repair services to aid the selling process, which is a move in the right direction, but these can only cope with limited volume because of the short time available.'

The condition of defleeted vehicles can have a significant effect on their residual value and more often than not it is worth investing in refurbishment.

Now in its 13th year of business, EuroFleet began with an original focus on daily rental, new and used car preparation, refurbishment and transport.

But new business channels have opened up over the years and among its current manufacturer clients, EuroFleet counts Renault, Ford, Vauxhall, Fiat, Peugeot, Iveco, Volkswagen Group and MG Rover.

Clients from other areas of the motor industry include Avis Rent a Car, Europcar, National Car Rental, Sixt-Kenning, Hertz, Northgate, Thrifty, the AA, Lex Vehicle Leasing and GE Capital Fleet Services.

EuroFleet has been part of Inchcape Business Services since 2001, with six major sites across the UK.

It refurbished 75,000 vehicles during 2001 – 20,000 of which were prepared to retail standard – and moved a total of 450,000 vehicles. Yet refurbishment levels are still low and Lynch claims many leasing companies have not invested in proper refurbishment facilities because the structures for reclaiming repair costs from clients might not be strictly adhered to. When the damage is reported, a few weeks could have passed since the vehicle was collected.

Leasing companies and contract hire firms are far keener now to identify damage as soon as the vehicle lease is ended, and Lynch said EuroFleet's inspection service could determine the condition of vehicles on collection. Clients can check the inspection records almost immediately and the damage can be repaired as soon as the vehicle arrives at the EuroFleet depot.

'We can provide real-time information quickly after the vehicle has back with us,' he said. 'The client can then seek to claim all or part of the repair cost back from the company whose driver has used the vehicle.'

He added that the contract hire industry could take on the refurbishment role themselves by investing in specialists, but EuroFleet already has the expertise to provide the service.

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