1. Can you give us a brief description of your automotive background please?
I started in the automotive sector just over 16 years ago when I joined Ford Motor Company, working closely with a number of dealers on business improvement. I then moved internally to become a rental account manager, which I really enjoyed and was my first experience of the fleet industry. Over the next couple of years I spent time at BMW, Audi, and Citroen in a number of fleet positions. I was then given the opportunity to move out of the manufacturer side of the business and across to the retailer side three and a half years ago, when Jardine created a new Fleet Director role to head up the entire fleet operation across all of the brands.
2. What was appealing about Jardine?
The role with Jardine was particularly interesting as it was a new position for the group and underlined their desire to develop their existing fleet business, which they saw as a core part of their overall strategy to grow. As an organisation Jardine interested me because they are a very large financially secure conglomerate with a long history reaching all the way back to the 1800s, and have large automotive operations across the globe. However, ultimately they remain a family run organisation that is focused on long term growth and developing businesses that are considered leaders in their various fields. The Fleet Director role gave me an opportunity to work on the retailer side of the business while retaining my specialist fleet knowledge from previous roles.
3. What is it about Lancaster and Jardine that appeals to fleet customers?
Jardine has been supplying large numbers of fleet cars for many years to our customer base which means that we have a deep understanding of the marketplace and specifically fleet customers’ needs and demands. Many of our fleet team have been with the group for more than ten years, so we have a stable and well experienced team which customers really like. The group supplied over 12,000 fleet units last year and we are sole supplier of more than one brand to many of our customers. This means that we are able to reduce their number of suppliers, improve their buying power with us and give them greater
control of their purchasing.
4. Which particular models from Toyota and Lexus are you excited about at the moment?
In terms of Toyota we are seeing good demand across the model range, however the key models are Aygo and Auris on the car side and Hilux remains a dominant player within the commercial market.For Lexus, the IS remains the core fleet car but the recent arrival of the NX has been very positive in terms of widening the appeal of the brand to company car drivers. The ongoing focus on the environment, fuel economy and CO2 means that both ranges are well positioned to take advantage as they offer a wide range of hybrid vehicles and a well established reputation for reliability.
5. In your opinion, what does the future hold for Jardine and the fleet division?
I feel really positive about 2016 and beyond. Our fleet division has continued to grow rapidly over the last couple of years with a 15% increase in 2015 alone. The brands we represent as a group are outperforming the overall market and we expect this to trend to continue. We are forecasting that the overall fleet market will remain buoyant and we see lots of growth opportunity specifically within the SME area of the market. We are well placed to take advantage of with this thanks to the investment we have made in additional Local Business Development Managers within our Toyota and Lexus businesses.
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