By Peter Johnstone, Jonathan Minter and Richard Irvine-Brown

A weekly round up of this week’s fleet news including VW results and UK guide; Ghana rental car entry; appointments at Lex, FLI and Chevin; fleet reports from Alphabet and Brazil; Hyundai-ALD partnership; funds raised, emissions lowered, tech leased; Nissans for food, Renaults for waste; and CLM’s timber deal.

VW commercial vehicles down slightly

Deliveries of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles from January to August 2013 have fallen year-on-year worldwide, but not declined as steeply as the VW Group total in Western Europe and risen in South America, where the Group has recorded a decline.

VW Commercial Vehicles delivered 358,400 units in the first eight months of the year, down 1.1% year-on-year. Deliveries in Western Europe were down 1.8% to 104,200 units but up 8.2% to 104,100 units in South America.

Worldwide, VW Group – also parent to Man, Scania, and multiple passenger car marques – recorded a rise of 4.5% in deliveries to 6.17 million units; including a drop of 3.2% in Western Europe to 1.98 million units and a drop of 13.7% in South America to 447,600 units.

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Meanwhile, VW has updated its UK website to include a series of guides on fleet management.

The guides are: an introduction to the fleet market; fleet operational methods; fleet funding and taxation; fleet allocation policies; service, maintenance and repairs; fuelling fleet vehicles; running a green fleet; managing on-road risk; grey fleet issues and jargon explained.

C&I Leasing extends Hertz franchise to Ghana

Nigerian-based C&I Leasing has moved into the Ghanaian rental market by operating a Hertz franchise through subsidiary Leasafric Ghana.

Alexander Mbakogu, managing director of Leaseafric, said the extension was part of the company’s drive to provide customers with good service delivery and invest in the development of the country’s transportation industry.

Queeneth Wodu, acting country manager of Hertz Ghana, said the company would provide value-added services tailored to the country, providing the same services as Hertz Car Rental in Nigeria.

Hyundai ALD partnership

Hyundai has agreed a white label partnership with fleet service provider ALD to support 27 fleet business centres launched in dealerships across the manufacturer’s UK network.

The centres aim to offer additional services to businesses customers, will be staffed by staff with extra fleet training and offer free wi-fi, dedicated working areas as well as fee loan vehicles, collect-and-deliver services or a free shuttle.

Mason joins Lex Autolease as head of fleet services

Lex Autolease has appointed Guy Mason as head of fleet services and a member of its Senior Operating Committee.

Mason has been at Lex Autolease for 28 years, joining in 1985 as a buyer with Lex Vehicle Leasing before progressing to roles such as head of sales and marketing, head of corporate sales, and director of HSBC vehicle finance, most recently leading the Northern sales team.

Tim Porter, managing director at Lex Autolease, described Mason as a "well-respected figure" who will bring "a wealth of knowledge and experience to our Senior Operating Committee", and "have a pivotal role in keeping vehicles on the roads, which is essential in minimising downtime and reducing costs for UK businesses."

Alphabet commissions next fleet management report

BMW-owned fleet company Alphabet has begun the research stages for its next fleet management report, and has said the attitudes and expectations for Britain’s fleet managers could be a ‘bellwether’ for the UK economy.

Paul Hollick, chief commercial officer for Alphabet, said: "Fleets take decisions with the next three to five years in mind. They reflect the confidence of the organisations they serve."

In the last report, 81% of fleet managers questioned said they expected to be managing at least the same number of vehicles in 2013, with the proportion of managers, nearly a third, who expected an increase in fleet size up by approximately 50% from the previous survey.

Brazilian fleet managers’ guide

Brazilian fleet managers must navigate a market with a variance of up to 35% in localised pricing due to import tariffs and 20 separate domestic manufacturing operations, and which is part of the world’s fourth largest new car market, estimated at 3.8 million annual registrations.

Most companies in Brazil also employ a full-time fleet manager, 30% of which are women, according to the first Global Fleet report by Nexus Communication, in conjunction with ALD Automotive and Wheels.

Brazil was identified as the market of greatest interest to international fleet managers in 2012, followed by Turkey and China, according to an initial survey by Global Fleet.

Tech company to provide leasing option on telemetry system

Telemetry technology provider In-Car Cleverness has introduced an option for SME customers to lease its system.

The finance plan is aimed at companies running fleets of 10 to 250 vehicles and is available on term lengths of between two and five years, starting at £10 a unit including installation.

The company identified the SME sector as one with increasing adoption of telematics.

Rental club raises funds

Enterprise Rent-a-Car has raised £8,940 for BEN, the UK automotive industry’s benevolent fund, by means of a day-long golf competition.

The success of the Enterprise Golf Day, held at the Warwickshire course in August, has prompted the car rental operator to begin planning a similar event for 2014.

Chris Buckley, group development and training manager at Enterprise, said he was "delighted" with the money raised and congratulated the team from Autosmart, the van valet product supplier, for their success on the day.

Lexus claims preferential BiK

Lexus, the luxury car brand affiliated with Toyota, is the latest manufacturer to extol the potential savings available in a company car scheme through using its fuel efficient models.

Following last week’s claim by Mazda to "transform" the sector with the Mazda3, Lexus has said the GS 300h model can deliver the best benefit-in-kind (BiK) tax saving for company car drivers, worth a potential £2,000 a year.

The CO2 emission level for the model is estimated to be 109g/km, qualifying for a BiK tax rate of 13%.

Nissan launches NV200 Fridge

Nissan has launched the NV200 Fridge, a refrigerated version of its LCV aimed at the food delivery market, "in response to strong fleet and business demand".

The Fridge will run on a turbodiesel engine, delivers 129g/km in CO2 emissions and comes with three years’ warranty.

Barry Beeston, corporate sales director at Nissan, said although the conversion to a refrigerated unit would add weight to the model this would not impact its performance.

Waste management firm adds two Renaults

Essex-based Dunmow Waste Management has added two Renault Kerax rigid trucks, its first vehicles from the French brand, to its 20-strong fleet.

The two trucks were purchased on finance through Renault Trucks Financial Services and the vehicles supplied by Renault Trucks Essex.

Sam Malins, director at Dunmow, said the move away from a DAF-heavy fleet was due to needing more ground clearance and load capacity and the "exceptional service and back-up we have received from the dealership".

Timber merchant outsources management

UK timber and builders’ merchants, Ridgeons, has outsourced management of its fleet to CLM.

Ridgeons operates a fleet of 114 cars, primarily from Volkswagen Group brands, and 19 panel vans, as well as a commercial fleet of approximately 100 heavy goods vehicles with 25 trailers and 150 forklift trucks.

The company said the decision was based on improving buying and disposal efficiencies while reducing operating costs

FLI appoints Western Europe CRO

Fleet management company Fleet Logistics International (FLI) has appointed Wim Buzzi has chief regional officer for France and the Benelux, based in Brussels.

Buzzi has joined from being fleet manager at Coca-Cola Enterprises.

FLI was acquired by Germany-based TÜV SÜD in September 2012 and, with its financial backing, is looking to expand its fleet management and consultancy work into new markets, namely the Americas.

Chevin appoints software support devloper

Fleet software provider Chevin Fleet Solutions has appointed Andrew Baker as software support developer.

The role revolves around Chevin’s FleetWave software, an online management service for 700,000 vehicles across 190 nations.