Fleet News

Acquisitions and failures: a year in fleet reviewed

Fuelled by the new Coalition Government’s fixation on driving down the budget deficit, belt-tightening is set to become the buzzword for 2011 but 2010 had plenty of shocks and surprises of its own.

Further acquisitions and failures are anticipated this year.

January

We started our year with a late- breaking story that happened a few days before the end of 2009. BCA’s acquisition by Clayton, Dubilier and Rice was a surprise announcement at 4pm on Christmas Eve.

Interestingly, the £390m deal didn’t include the auction sites which Montagu retains.

That could be a smart move for CDR if internet auctions take off, reducing the need for so many physical sites.

Peugeot announces plans to become the premium carmaker in its segment with its Motion and Emotion vision. Come year end, fleet sales were up 20% year-on-year in a market up 10%.

February

Toyota undergoes a damage limitation exercise after a global recall involving 190,000 cars in the UK.
HSBC withdraws from fleet finance after four years of offering the service via Lex Autolease.

The move handed the 33,000 vehicles that its customers operate to Lex Autolease.

Salary sacrifice hits the headlines after four major funders – LeasePlan, Hitachi, Lex Autolease and GE Capital – announced plans to launch car schemes.

March

Fleet News Awards night: 1,200 industry movers and shakers descend on the Grosvenor House Hotel to celebrate the best in fleet. Check out the results and pictures from the night at www.fleetnews.co.uk/awards-night-2010/

Volvo reassures fleets after its acquisition by the Chinese manufacturer Geely for £1.2bn.

Fuel duty, road investment, NI and low emission car BIK incentives were all affected by the Budget, described by Fleet News as “short on sparkle”.

April

HMRC embarks on a policy of annoying ACFO and frustrating fleet managers by refusing to review the Advisory Fuel Rates ahead of the scheduled June review.

There was further irritation when the review left rates for diesel engines below 2.0-litres unchanged

Fleet News figures show that in many instances, the rates are too generous anyway and companies are overpaying staff.

May

Election Day. After days of talks, the Tories and Lib Dems finally agree to form a coalition government.

Come the October spending review, the full extent of their ambitions became clear with swingeing cuts across all public sector bodies.

Fleets are still weighing up the consequences.

Santander signs a deal with Zenith Provecta to offer branded fleet funding to its customers with Zenith providing the back office fleet management.

June

New Chancellor George Osborne’s emergency budget laid out plans to raise VAT to 20% in January 2011 and changes to capital allowances which reduced the rates at which organisations can claim back the cost of buying a company car.

July

Fleet News launches the Fleet200 – insight and analysis into 200 of the UK’s biggest fleets. Combined, they operate almost 500,000 cars and vans with an annual fleet budget of £3 billion.

August

The Petrol Retailers Association’s claims that average petrol prices could hit £1.26 per litre and diesel £1.32 by the end of the year are wide of the mark.

Although prices rose throughout 2010, they ended the year at £1.22 for petrol and £1.26 for diesel.

Vauxhall launches a ‘lifetime’ warranty for up to 100,000 miles. It remains unclear whether the warranty will be transferable.

September

The Freight Transport Association launches the Van Code of Excellence at the Fleet Van conference.

Fleet200 company Connaught Partnerships collapses and is subsequently acquired by Morgan Sindall, which will swell its fleet from 2,000 outright purchased cars and vans.

A Fleet News investigation uncovers an annual £158 million grey fleet bill paid by councils and government departments to staff using their own cars for business.

Janet Entwistle announces her departure as managing director of BT Fleet, replaced by David Bowen.

October

Nigel Trotman leaves Lex Auto-lease after two years to join Alphabet as a strategic consultant.

BSM instructors force the driving school into a climbdown over its decision to switch Vauxhall for Fiat 15 months ago.

BSM will return to Vauxhall next March, which means Fiat will have supplied fewer than half of the original 14,000 Fiat 500s under the terms of the contract.

November

BVRLA chief executive John Lewis (left) and Vauxhall fleet sales director Maurice Howkins are inducted into the Fleet News Hall of Fame at the FN50 dinner in London.

GE Capital announces the closure of TLS Vehicle Rental.

Lex Autolease managing director Nigel Stead announces plans to retire next June after 10 years as MD. He will be replaced as MD in January by Rick Francis.

December

A busy end to the year. Leaseway Vehicle Rental, which runs 13,000 vehicles, calls in the administrators and looks set to close its six outlets.

Newton Vehicle Rental, which has a fleet of 7,000 vehicles, also calls in the administrators but is saved by Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions which buys the bulk of the business and assets.

Meanwhile, in the biggest deal of the year, Investec acquires Masterlease and announces that the business will be integrated into and run by Leasedrive Velo.

It will create an FN50 top 10 company with a risk fleet of around 48,000 vehicles.

 


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