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LeasePlan closes UK used car site as Arval launches new offering

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Arval UK is launching a new consumer-focused used car website just as LeasePlan confirms it has closed its UK CarNext operation.

LeasePlan launched its CarNext.com used car platform in the UK in 2018, allowing drivers to buy, lease or finance its ex-fleet cars.

However, the leasing company told Fleet News it has now closed the UK business, including its delivery store in Milton Keynes.

A LeasePlan spokesman explained: “We’re not selling cars anymore (in the UK) through CarNext. We’re currently in discussions about working closer together with BCA and Cinch, who are our long-term remarketing partners.”

LeasePlan’s CarNext operations in some 20-plus other countries are unaffected and remain part of the leasing company’s remarketing strategy.

In the UK, it appears that the nature of the used car market, with a plethora of used car platforms has thwarted its plans.

However, that highly competitive marketplace has not deterred Arval UK from launching a new route to reach consumers with some of its ex-lease stock.

Arval says that with AutoSelect it has focused on creating a flexible online used car experience, which will include a choice of vehicles to buy outright, finance and lease.

All of the vehicles on the site have been refurbished, have gone through a 128-point AA inspection, have service history, and a service or MOT will have been carried out if either is due within the next six months. The company can also accept and process part exchanges as part of the transaction.

Arval AutoSelect will also offer free home delivery to any UK mainland address and there is also a 14-day cooling off period, with the customer entitled to return any vehicle that doesn’t meet their needs. These features enable a completely remote purchasing process, it says.

Gary Burns, remarketing director at Arval UK, explained: “Remarketing a proportion of our used vehicles direct to consumers is an important part of our strategy and we’ve been doing it for some time.

“Whether the customer is buying or leasing a used vehicle from us, they have high expectations, so a lot of time and effort has been put into developing this transparent user-friendly solution, which gives the customer all the information they need to make an informed buying decision.”

Burns says that the used car sector has changed, perhaps permanently, as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and a growing number of buyers are looking for a process where every step – choice, finance and delivery – can be carried out entirely remotely online.

“At the same time,” he says, “they want to be supported throughout with timely information about the vehicle and the sales process.” 

Several hundred vehicles will initially be available, with stock levels expected to grow over time.

“We have a number of established digital remarketing channels, which make it easy for our buyers to do business with us – irrespective of whether they are car dealers or members of the public,” continued Burns.

“Arval AutoSelect is an exciting new addition and we expect this platform to become a key part of our remarketing mix.”

He concluded: “As a business, we are committed to remarketing a selection of our vehicles to consumers and Arval AutoSelect gives us an effective platform to do just that.”

Click here for remarketing best practice and procurement insight

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  • Alex De Gelas - 02/10/2020 12:21

    With Leaseplan closing CarNext in the UK I'm not sure that this will come as a surprise to anyone who follows the remarketing of lease cars. What is surprising however, is that Arval have decide to go down this, very busy and packed, road when you already have the likes of Heycar (backed by Volkswagen and Daimler) and Cinch (backed by BCA), not to mention other online players such as Cazoo. It will be interesting to see how Arval differentiate themselves to create a USP that will be a more efficient outlet than the traditional route most lease companies follow. It's worth remembering that Lex also tried, and failed, to sell via the retail market so the message definitely seems to be "Leave it to the experts". Time will tell.

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