This week’s weekly round-up of fleet news features big software deals, latest research findings by the likes of GE and iVendi, product launches and an appointment. By Jonathan Minter, Isabella Grotto and Mike Cobb.

Lex agrees deal with ABEC

Building management system specialist Automated Building & Energy Controls, (ABEC) has appointed Lex Autolease to provide and run its fleet of vehicles.

The UK firm was previously purchasing vehicles and also using private contract hire to provide its vehicle demands.
Lex will supply 10 vehicles which are a mix of Volkswagens, Fords and Vauxhalls for use by the company’s engineers.

Daniel Kittow, managing director at ABEC, said: "The costs of short-term car rentals was becoming unsustainable for our business.

"This leasing deal has significantly cut those costs, which means we can now spend more time and energy delivering our core business services to existing clients and focus on expanding our customer base throughout the regions."

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JCT600 appoints accounts manger

Dealer group JCT600 has appointed a national broker and corporate accounts manager to its fleet operations.Appointee Frank Turner has spent 26 years in the fleet industry, most recently working for SG Fleet and for Parks Motor Group/Thistle Vehicle Leasing as their fleet sales manager.

Turner will be responsible for managing and growing broker and fleet sales across the group, subsequent to the merging of its fleet operations last year.

Yamaha Canada signs software deal with White Clarke Group

Yamaha Motor Finance Canada has struck a deal with asset finance technology provider White Clarke Group to implement the latter’s software.

The White Clark Group’s CALMS Compass Wholesale Management System will be made available by 1 January 2015, when Yamaha is set to launch its new inventory finance programme to Canadian motorsport and marine dealers.

Leone Foxwell, national manager of inventory finance at Yamaha Motors Canada, said: "We have listened to their requests and are committed to providing the best to them at all times. We believe that our new relationship with White Clarke Group is an integral component of this new program."

Leasing top choice among fleet managers – GE

A survey of over 400 middle-market executives conducted by GE found leasing to be the most popular choice for adding new vehicles, selected by almost a third of respondents.

With 27% of companies expecting to grow their fleets over the next 12 months, cash on hand (28%) fell slightly behind leasing (30%) among the channels for fleet growth available to managers.

In addition, the research found that although alternative vehicles currently feature in a mere 4% of fleets, 64% of companies surveyed stated they plan to add AFVs over the next two years, with 92% saying within the next five.

Fleet costs are expected to increase by 51% of fleet managers, with fuel and maintenance topping the list of expenses, particularly in regards to maintaining older vehicles and carrying out unscheduled repairs.

Two in three (65%) fleet executives said their firms’ overall performance improved on last year’s figures, while 69% reported an increase in financial performance.

Driver diversity issue for public sector fleet managers

The challenge of managing a wide variety of drivers, using a diverse range of pool and hire vehicles, is becoming an increasing issue for public sector fleets, according to fleet software provider Chevin.

Grey fleet usage is falling within many organisations due to risk management concerns, claimed Chevin, but with drivers being provided to drivers as needed instead, duty of care issues are also likely to arise.

David Gladding, sales director of Chevin, said: "Coming up with policies to decide who can drive what in which conditions requires very detailed analysis in risk management terms as well as an effective administration system to ensure that it is properly implemented."

The increasing numbers of public sector drivers employed on a part time, contract or shift basis further complicates vehicle allocations, he added.

However, Gladding believes the use of fleet software can help manage the situation: "Putting in place systems to minimise the chances of risk management errors being made is something we are currently working on with a number of our public sector fleet software users."

LDF launches HGV fleet solution

Finance provider LDF is to launch a product that will allow business to spread the costs of both vehicle excise duty and the road user levy across a 12 month term, to free up cash.

According to LDF, these taxes could cost fleets £1,850 per year per vehicle classed as a "heavy goods vehicle."

Peter Alderson, managing director of LDF, said "Road haulage is an industry where cash flow is under constant pressure, due to a combination of high fuel prices, taxes and overseas competition, and this new funding is our response to the needs of our clients in the industry."

National Windscreen’s Vauxhall fleet breaks 100

National windscreens’ fleet of Vauxhall Movano’s has broken the 100 figures after the delivery of an additional 30 vans.

The company first began ordering the vans in 2012 with an original order of 24 vans, and has been expanding it since.

The new vans are liveried with rear parking sensors and internal racks to provide specific storage facilities.