Fleet News

Car subscription service Drover planning fleet launch

Cars parked in a car park

Drover, an online-based car subscription service, is planning on launching a tailored corporate offering for fleets as it looks to position itself as a UK mobility as a service (MaaS) pioneer.

An online service, it connects customers with new and used car stock from partners like rental companies, dealer groups and leasing companies for a fixed monthly rental price, with insurance, servicing, maintenance, MoT, breakdown cover and road tax included. Customers can upgrade, downgrade or cancel their contract after giving a month’s notice at no extra cost.

Matthew Caudle, Drover head of partnerships and insurance, told Fleet News: “The plan is to introduce something specifically aimed at fleets next year, but it could be sooner than that if there’s a demand from corporate customers in the market.”

Caudle said Drover’s fleet offering would be tailored around total cost of ownership for fleets and would factor in a partnership with BP Fuel cards to help manage fuel costs.

With Drover, the asset risk is with the vehicle provider, but the default payment risk and insurance risk is on Drover. Customers can choose to get their vehicle delivered for a fee or they can visit a dealer’s showroom or rental depot to pick up their car.

Drover currently has 1,500 customers in the UK, with one in 10 of those using the service to source their company car.

The company launched with the private hire market in 2016 but recently launched to retail customers and secured £5.5 million in funding that was co-led by venture capital firms Cherry Ventures, Partech and BP Ventures. This takes total investment in the company to £7.5m which will be used to scale the business further and invest in its engineering and product team.

It is working with 100 fleet partners, including Europcar, Avis Budget Group and Hertz, dealer groups and BMW Group UK. Caudle said Drover is already working with two small leasing companies and is looking to add more to its list of vehicle supplier partners.

Drover takes the rental payment from customers online and passes that on to the vehicle partner, it then takes an agency fee for facilitating the deal and a fee for arranging insurance through its supplier.

Caudle said: “We’re not a rival to these partners, we’re acting as a facilitator to help these companies access customers they wouldn’t normally be targeting.

“It’s also a way to make sure their stock is utilised.”

Caudle said prices average between £300 and £400 a month.

Drover users can access vehicles after creating a profile and uploading a photograph of their drivers licence. Customers can tailor their subscription on their smartphone based on their location, budget and preferred mileage. Some vehicle can be available to be delivered or collected as early as the next day.

There is an 800-mile monthly limit with the option to upgrade if needed at an additional cost.

Contracts are for a minimum of one month at a time, with a discount on monthly payments available if a customer commits for six or 12-month intervals.

Caudle said the ultimate selling point versus a traditional rental or lease deal is flexibility, simplicity of ownership due to the all in one payment and an interface designed for the smartphone generation.

He said: “There’s no big deposit payment, just an initial start payment and we think it will be popular with people that want access to a vehicle easily through an online system.”

Caudle said that while peer-to-peer car sharing has taken the lead on MaaS, he believes growth in that specific market will level out as it is a solution that only suits big cities.

He added: “With those customers that want a vehicle on a bit more of a permanent basis, MaaS apps, like Drover, is what will be the right option for a much wider market in the UK.”

Following the most recent round of funding, Christian Meermann, founding partner at Cherry Ventures, said the UK is on the verge of massive changes for how consumers approach car ownership.

He said: “Drover is building the infrastructure and the customer experience that will change how all parties think about mobility.

“We believe that car-ownership will undergo massive changes as consumers prioritise flexibility, affordability and convenience.”

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