Our flagship service supplier award goes to top-three leasing company Alphabet for 2013. This category covers all manner of services to the fleet industry from rental, through insurance and telematics, so it’s testament to Alphabet that business car operators gave it the thumbs up amidst such an eclectic pool of competition.

The previous year was an absolute landmark for the BMW-owned firm, because, among other big developments to the business, it absorbed ING’s leasing arm and leapt from 50,000 vehicles and a sixth place ranking in our BC50 table of top 50 leasing companies to almost 110,000 and third place, behind only the giants of Leaseplan and Lex Autolease.

The completion of the merger may have been the biggest development of past 12 months, but the firm has been well on its toes in other areas as well. It launched its new pool car scheme – Alphacity – in mid-2012, which is linked to an online booking system and allows employees to book vehicles with the intention of rendering business travel more efficient.

CEO Richard Schooling told BusinessCar that, separate from the growth off the back of the ING acquisition, the firm has expanded by more than 10% in the past year.

“[We’ve] seen a growth in the overall customer portfolio of more than 10% over the past 12 months. While working through the integration process, we have not lost sight of the need to innovate and I’m proud that we have been able to deliver award-winning new products and services against a challenging market backdrop.

“In the past 12 months, the fleet market has changed shape dramatically as a result of players dropping out or consolidating. This is likely to stabilise in the coming months and we don’t anticipate the overall market growing substantially during 2013; however, we have strong ambitions for growth within the marketplace.”

Schooling continued: “Undeniably, the fleet industry is still feeling the impact of the recession on company car budgets and one of the big projects for us in 2013 will be the development of our business mobility portfolio.

“This time next year, we intend to have cemented our place as the leading provider of business mobility solutions in the UK, and this starts with a change in the way that people think about corporate travel. Taxation and cost will always play a role in the decision-making process, but increasingly we will see efficiency, flexibility and accessibility come to the fore.”

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