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Fleet to suffer more than retail, says Nissan boss

Date: 10 March 2009   |   Author:

Paul Willcox is managing director of Nissan UK

Nissan GB boss Paul Wilcox is predicting the business market will suffer more than retail in this recession, blaming a unique set of circumstances in the current climate.

"The fleet industry is in for a difficult time and I see the fleet market coming under more pressure than retail in 2009," said Wilcox. "Historically it's been more robust, but exchange rates, lack of liquidity, RV decline and the cost of funding all contribute to put pressure on the fleet market."

Wilcox also predicts there could be opportunities for manufacturer and dealer leasing financing, as those backed by car makers may have easier access to funding than bank-owned firms, some of which are declining new business according to Wilcox. "Opportunities will still come from businesses needing to acquire vehicles, but they need to find new ways to fund and that's where captive manufacturer or dealer-based funding comes in."

Nissan is focussing its attention over the next year or so on improving its dealer network proposition for corporate customers, particularly small businesses. The firm is aligning its business centres with its van specialist dealers in a move it hopes will see 60-70 dealers invest in sales and aftersales staff, courtesy and demo vehicles, and the training in offering funding to fleets. The company currently has around 25 van specialist dealers and 40 business centres.

"We see strong synergies," said Wilcox. "We can be more agile one-on-one with local businesses and meet their needs. The biggest problem is getting dealers trained to offer those funding options with confidence."