Fleet News

Zenith reports ‘strong’ performance and growing EV fleet

Tim Buchan, chief executive officer, Zenith

Zenith has revealed that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) account for 17% of its car fleet and 79% of current orders within salary sacrifice.

With its managed and funded fleet surpassing 150,000 units for the first time, the vehicle leasing company says it expects the BEV order book to grow.

Zenith has reported strong interim results for the year ending 31 March 2022, with income and operating profits ahead of the prior year in each of its core divisions: corporate, consumer and commercial.

It says that the strong performance is down to the resilience of its model, covering all vehicle types, a variety of channels, and a wide range of services.

Tim Buchan (pictured), chief executive officer, said: “I’m delighted that Zenith has continued to go from strength to strength, delivering solid results and significant growth across all divisions despite challenging market conditions.

“Alongside these results, we’re also proud to have accelerated our mission to eliminate tailpipe emissions from the UK vehicle parc."

Leeds-headquartered Zenith has committed to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The science-based targets show companies how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

It also signed up to the EV100 global declaration to accelerate the transition to 100% zero-emission cars and vans, announced on Transport Day at COP26. 

Buchan continued: “Zenith has seen growth across all three of our core divisions and backed this up with meaningful environmental commitments, signing up to the EV100 declaration at COP26, and adopting our own SBTi commitments.

“These actions, together with our strong performance, further demonstrate how profit and purpose can coexist.

“Whilst we anticipate continued short-term challenges in the automotive sector and the potential of further restrictions related to COVID-19, combined with working from home again, Zenith is well-positioned for the remainder of the year.”

Zenith’s Corporate division has a record order book and within the rental business, demand has recovered following the easing of Government restrictions in the year.

While rental demand has recovered strongly, however, it is not yet at pre-Covid-19 levels, and the business continues to experience headwinds from ongoing supply chain challenges, it says.

Similarly, in-life services within corporate have shown strong recovery bringing activity almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

However, it said that any negative impact has been more than offset by Zenith’s performance in disposing of vehicles that have come to the end of their leasing period, with market prices seeing substantial increases during the course of 2021.

In its commercial division, the integration of the trailer rental and fleet services businesses acquired in 2020 has progressed well, it says.

Customer demand across a range of sectors, including distribution and logistics, home shopping, parcel delivery, cash in transit, and construction and infrastructure-related services has remained particularly high, delivering record utilisation of Zenith’s trailer rental fleet.

The business has also continued “significant investment” into mobile service units, a critical service solution for the group’s trailer operators. It expects to see further progress in customer service and operating performance through the remainder of the year.

Meanwhile, in its consumer division, the ZenAuto personal contract hire (PCH) business unveiled its first nationwide, television marketing campaign during the past year, and launched a new used PCH proposition.

ZenAuto now has 8,000 vehicles on the road, an increase of 84% year-on-year.

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