Family-owned vehicle rental company U-Drive has opened a new Business Hub in the north west of England as it eyes growth in the fleet sector.
The business, which is also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, has nine other locations in the south and in Wales. The new Manchester site represents U-Drive’s first step towards having national coverage and will predominantly stock commercial vehicles.
Mark Hamblin (pictured), director at U-Drive, told Fleet News: “Growth for us will come from B2B. We want fleet users, that’s where our future is.”
The focus of the business has shifted from consumer to fleet in recent years and corporate business now accounts for around 70% of U-Drive’s overall trade. Hamblin expects that to increase further, allowing the company to double its fleet size from 3,000 to 6,000 vehicles.
U-Drive’s existing fleet customer base includes delivery firms, local authorities and utility companies. Hamblin said the expansion will support its existing corporate customers that operate nationally and open the door for more large fleet clients.
“Business is huge in that area. It offers huge potential,” he added. Hamblin did not rule out further expansion in the region, stating the north east and London were areas of interest for the company.
U-Drive’s new business hub, which is located on the Oakhill Trading Estate in Walkden, Manchester, will provide a “one stop shop” for corporate users. It's the result of more than £10m of investment.
Services include short to long term vehicle hire, flexi-hire and contract hire; along with vehicle livery supply and fitting and commercial vehicle sales.
U-Drive also offers in-house facilities to fit vehicle accessories such as beacons, racking and towbars; 24/7 national breakdown and recovery support; mobile service units; and strategically located maintenance partners for additional support.
Julie Peters, branch manager at the new business hub, said: “We’re excited to be launching in the north west and I have no doubt that myself and our team at the new business branch will continue U-Drive’s excellent track record of providing superb customer service to support all our customers’ fleet requirements.
Graham Gates recently joined the business, from SHB Vehicle Hire, as national sales manager. He will work with Peters, formerly of Hertz, to expand the sales management team and help to build a portfolio of customers for the Manchester business hub and beyond.
U-Drive operates from a head office in Poole, with branches in Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Salisbury and Southampton. It also has vehicle delivery hubs in Dorchester and Fareham, along with the new Manchester Business Hub.
You can read more about U-Drive's expansion in the April edition of Fleet News.