In recent days GE Capital has announced that it is to close its vehicle rental business TLS, while a second rental firm, Leaseway, is consulting with staff on the possible closure of two branches in Birmingham and London.
The announcements have been made in what is traditionally a very busy time for vehicle rental companies with many fleets requiring additional vehicles to meet increasing demand in the run-up to Christmas.
Northgate Vehicle Hire, which has a UK-wide fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles available for hire from over 60 outlets, is already seeing a rise in rental demand and is in talks with around 300 TLS customers about meeting their vehicle requirements on an ongoing basis.
The boost in business for Northgate Vehicle Hire comes in the wake of the company continuing to renew its fleet - 20,000 new vehicles will be purchased in total in 2010 and the replacement programme will continue in 2011 - and completing a major UK-wide rebranding programme.
Northgate Vehicle Hire sales and marketing director Gareth Jones said: “Fleets want stability and sustainability. The upheaval which is taking place has been widely predicted for several months, which is why Northgate has focused on ensuring it has in place a wide range of vehicles for hire and a national infrastructure to support corporate customers.
“We not only continue to buy new cars and vans but have available an immediate supply of vehicles most of which are under three years in age to meet the ongoing demand from existing and new customers.
“With a current utilisation rate of more than 90%, it means that at anyone time Northgate Vehicle Hire normally has 5,000 to 6,000 cars and vans available for hire.”
Mr Jones added: “Many courier, parcel delivery and home delivery organisations require significant additional fleet capacity to ensure business efficiency during the festive season.
“Northgate is already supplying several thousand additional vehicles to such businesses and we anticipate that demand to increase further day-by-day from both our long-established customers and new clients we are in dialogue with.
“The company therefore continues to access ‘reserve’ stocks of vehicles to ensure client demand continues to be met.”
At the heart of Northgate Vehicle Hire’s rental proposition is its contract-free, fully flexible NORFLEX rental solution, which makes financial and operational sense as organisations can rent a vehicle for as long as needed and then hand it back the moment it is not.
Mr Jones continued: “The announcements by both TLS and Leaseway will obviously cause uncertainty. But Northgate Vehicle Hire is well-established and can ensure continuity of vehicle supply and service.
“Business is tough enough for organisations with fleets of vehicles without them having to worry about vehicles and whether they will have access to them. They need sustainability in terms of their transport and distribution requirements which Northgate Vehicle Hire can deliver.”
In addition to the significant fleet renewal programme, Northgate Vehicle Hire has continued to invest heavily in its infrastructure and staff.
The company recently announced a major apprenticeship investment programme in partnership with Ford, which has seen Northgate take on 35 youngsters who will complete either mechanical or bodyshop apprenticeships.
“With a very considered approach through vehicle acquisition, vehicle hire operation and vehicle disposal Northgate Vehicle Hire is in a strong position and has the funding in place to move forward,” said Mr Jones.