Fleet News

LCVs: customised vans

It was not so long ago that van fleet operators faced major problems when customising vehicles for their particular needs.

This process invariably involved purchasing a base van and then searching around for all the bits and pieces they needed afterwards – ladder racks on the roof, shelves inside and maybe steel bulkheads.

Then what about livery? Another trawl through the Yellow Pages to find a company that would paint vehicles with suitable logos and decals. In the “can-do” culture of the noughties, much of this hassle has been removed, partly through the increasing presence of LCV leasing firms in the industry.

They understand that saying “we can’t do that” just isn’t an option as fleet operators expect, demand, and invariably get, a service that is tailored to their exact requirements. And those requirements are forever expanding and diversifying.

Leasing firm Lombard Vehicle Management has long been at the forefront of offering customised vehicles to clients and now it has launched a number of “off-the-shelf” vans aimed at electricians, gas engineers/plumbers, builders, glaziers, workshop technicians, florists and refrigerated delivery services.

The first two models in the range have now been launched – one for electricians and another for gas engineers/plumbers based on the Citroën Berlingo 1.6 HDi 600 LX and Dispatch 1.6.

Other versions will become available later this year. Rentals start at £205 per month, based on a three-year/30,000-mile contract without maintenance.

One of the major UK fleets which has been making full use of Lombard’s one-stop shop approach is BSkyB, which ordered 1,700 Vauxhall Vivaro vans from the firm in a three-year deal clinched at this year’s CV Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Lombard is supplying not only the vans but also bespoke racking systems from racking specialist Bri-Stor, a special ladder system and even the eye-catching decals which feature such TV favourites as The Simpsons, Wallace and Gromit, and Heroes.

Ann Hershaw, BSkyB commercial and fleet manager, said: “We decided to go with Lombard not only because the commercial terms were competitive but also because they are dedicated van specialists, rather than a car leasing firm that also does vans.

“Lombard’s off-the-shelf system means one firm handles all our requirements including vehicle procurement, racking and wrapping.

“That way, when our vans are due for replacement, Lombard implements meetings and performance reviews with the various companies such as Vauxhall and Bri-Stor.

“We take our fleet responsibilities very seriously at BSkyB and Lombard has also helped us by offering a consultancy service – they have given us advice on duty of care, benefit-in-kind tax changes and telematics to name a few.

“They also provide a comprehensive reporting suite for us and their driver helpline manages all our maintenance, vehicle management services and accident management.”

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