Round-up of this week’s UK and European fleet stories including Mercedes-Benz Benelux fleet management, positive fleet response to Nissan’s EV, LeasePlan’s charity and CD Auction’s take on used fleet supply.

MBFS new Benelux fleet management system

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) has implemented the Miles fleet management system from Belgium-based software provider Sofico to manage its 60,000-vehicle fleet in the Benelux nations.

The Miles system will cover all administration and money flows including invoices; vehicle ordering; insurance, maintenance and fuel card ordering; replacement vehicles and other tasks across the Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg operations of MBFS.

The agreement is the latest in a productive 12-month period for Sofico which now manages the 14,000-vehicle fleet of Turkish leasing company Hedef Fleet Services and the Spanish and Italian fleets, ahead of further European markets, of Dutch lessor Athlon Car Lease.

Nissan claim electric van ‘positive’ response

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Japanese manufacturer Nissan has claimed “extremely positive feedback” from its late 2012 Barcelona showcase of the all-electric NV200 van, available in 2014.

The marque said five leasing companies, six fleet operators and three used vehicle valuation companies visited Nissan’s facility in Barcleona to test drive the NV200 (electric and diesel versions), meet the electric vehicle (EV) team and view Nissan’s EV development plans.

The e-NV200 has already conducted trials with British Gas, FedEx and the Japan Post Service.

Matthew Dale, UK national LCV sales manager at Nissan, said: “We already have leasing companies and fleet operators who want to trial the vehicle, and some who want to order a fleet.”

“Commercial vehicles are working tools and our guests recognised both the savings in fuel costs and reduced emissions offered by the e-NV200,” added Dale.

LeasePlan donates van to local hospice

Fleet lessor LeasePlan has donated a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van to independent East Berkshire hospice Thames Hospicecare.

The van, worth £32,000, has been provided as part of a ‘longstanding charitable partnership’, on a free lease basis to replace a vehicle donated in 2007.

The hospice, chosen through a poll of LeasePlan employees, will use the van to distribute donated goods to the Hospice’s 14 shops and to collect large items donated by supporters.

Steve Moss, human resources director at LeasePlan, said: “Thames Hospicecare is a local charity that we’ve been supporting for a number of years now. Its transport needs have given us the ideal opportunity to use our expertise to continue that support in a way that has real impact.”

CDA boss: fleet will aid UK used price stability

Roger Woodward, managing director of online remarketing group CD Auction Group, has predicted the UK used vehicle values at auction will remain “strong and stable” in 2013, buttressed by fleet.

“Although sales to fleets three years ago were up by nearly 17% in the first six months of 2010, that was still down on the pre-crisis numbers so volumes coming back for remarketing will remain relatively low,” said Woodward.

“We’re also hearing that some leasing companies are finding it difficult to get cars back from customers who prefer to extend their finance. This is partly driven by uncertainty over the current economic climate and partly because of the long lead times on core fleet models.”

Looking to trends this year, Woodward predicted good quality core fleet models would remain in strong demand on the used market, with retailers prepared to pay ‘strong money’ for the right car.

A full interview with Roger Woodward will be published in the February issue of Motor Finance magazine.