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YOUNG AT HEART: Getting its house in order

Date: 10 August 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Tristan Young is Editor-in-chief of BusinessCar

Business as usual it ain't at GM UK Fleet.

Despite the department's insistence it's continuing on as normal while the US parent sorts out who's going to buy its' European operations, things clearly aren't normal.

And that can only be a good thing.

In the past few days we've seen Vauxhall exit the expensive (for GM) BSM driving school fleet deal and now we've seen GM UK Fleet part company with Masterlease for its own-brand leasing operations including Vauxhall Leasing, Saab Contract Hire and Chevrolet Lease.

It had to happen. No car maker can afford to have an own-brand leasing operation that refuses to lease certain cars. In this case it was Saab Contract Hire not leasing Saabs, as BusinessCar exclusively revealed in March.

The move is particularly significant because Masterlease is part of GMAC which is GM's bank.

And all this against a backdrop of GM?Europe's uncertain future, with clarity yet to appear on which of the interested parties could end up owning the giant European arm. Both Canadian car parts firm Magna, previously seen as the preferred bidder, and Belgian venture capital firm RHJ International are in drawn-out negotiations, but the light at the end of the tunnel isn't yet in sight.

Let's hope GM?has managed to get its house in order before the vital new Astra is launched later this year.