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Leasing, used car and fleet sector innovator Bryan Phillimore dies

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Bryan Phillimore, the former MD of one-time leading and largest UK motor industry consultancy, Aplin Phillimore Associates (APA), has died aged 82 following a lengthy illness.

Phillimore who with chairman Tony Aplin, built APA and The Network Group into two of the largest management consultancies in the UK retail motor industry, during a 20-year period leading up to the turn of the millennium.

APA multi-award winning programmes included Network Q and MasterFit for Vauxhall; RapidFit, BSI-ISO National Network Accreditation, Ford Contract Motoring for Ford and Iveco Truck Leasing and Fiat Contract Hire for Fiat UK.  

The company also revolutionised the acceptance of vehicle leasing with fleets when they created Wheelease and Trucklease for Lombard, which made Lombard UK market leaders for 20 years. 

APA also played a leading role in popularising leasing as a preferred funding option for major fleets, and years later the industry used the same APA contract hire platform to popularise personal contract lease programmes for the UK retail car market sector. 

APA worked in many motor sectors, including pioneering new operating and behavioural standards in the UK to address the poor image of the UK used car market sector. It created national used car programmes for Fiat, Renault, BWW and Peugeot before creating the Network Q used car programme for Vauxhall.

Network Q set new ambitious standards for the industry that subsequently revolutionised used car operating and behavioural standards for all vehicle manufacturer (VM) used car schemes in the UK, Europe and globally.

APA formulated the UK motor industry standards for several national local business user and national fleet programmes and assisted manufacturers in setting up many national dealer networks including Renault, Austin-Rover, Fiat/Lancia, Peugeot and Vauxhall. 

APA also set up and ran national contract hire and leasing businesses for PSA, Opel, Forward Trust/Fiat-Lancia, Iveco Trucks, Ford Credit/Ford.

Phillimore and Aplin co-founded the Network Rental Group with David Owens and National Car Cleaning with Stan Macal. Network Rentals fully managed national dealer car rental schemes for eight VMs including Vauxhall, Renault, VW, Fiat, PSA and Ford.

Phillimore was a UK fleet and truck sector expert and together with the late Professor Peter Cooke was closely involved with Bill Jackson in setting up the very first few editions of Fleet News, providing early editorial advice, writing articles, and, crucially obtaining vital advertising income from APA's existing VM fleet contacts.

Former APA chairman Aplin, who subsequently founded Verex, the VM affinity insurance business, said: “Bryan was a one-off and whilst a low-key guy, was a top-class long term strategic thinker who was also as a brilliant refiner of new innovative ideas and early stage concepts. People like Bryan Phillimore are rare indeed.”

Born in east London, Phillimore was an ex-Royal Marine who saw active service in Suez. He was a long-time Ford man, latterly in Dealer Training and Trucks Operations before linking up with Aplin when he was head of fleet operations at VW-Audi UK.

Phillimore was a strong family man, who as a young Brass Band cornet player helped provide West Ham supporters with their centre circle half-time entertainment. He was a mean poker player and throughout his life remained an enthusiastic and optimistic golfer.

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