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Stead reveals Lex Autolease merger plans

Date: 29 October 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Nigel Stead, Lex Autolease boss

Lex Autolease will concentrate on customer service at the expense of out-right fleet size, according to managing director Nigel Stead.

Speaking to BusinessCar about the integration of Lex and Autolease, Stead said: "It's still early stages with the 18 month integration plan.

"Our scale doesn't matter to customers, delivering our service to customers whether they are large or small is what we're concentrating on."

Stead said that Lex Autolease would pick up new business, but the total fleet size next year would be lower than this year's BC50 figure of 337,778 vehicles.

"There is some Lex heritage business that will be lost, the less profitable business. But there are new business opportunities out there.

"I'm not saying we'll be up on this year's BC50 figure. There will be a modest fall, but we will be winning business.

"It's just that at the other end there will be an erosion."

He added that new business would come from "traditional corporate customers and regional, smaller, SME businesses".

Commenting on recent cutbacks in the broker market, Stead said Lex Autolease was not going to pull-out of this arena and had made all the necessary cut backs already.

The cuts were part of the bank-owned firm's drive to make its money work harder. "The recession means people will be a little more cautious about pricing and RVs. Capital will be a little shorter and providers will want a better return," added Stead.

Meanwhile, Stead said the phenomenon of contract extensions was beginning to cool.

"In the latter part of last year, and early this year we encouraged extensions, where appropriate for the customer, due to vehicle residuals and customers were asking for a cost effective solution. And contract extensions did both of us a favour.

"For that reason some are still asking for contract extensions, but they're not being led by Lex Autolease anymore. If there was heat in extensions, that's gone now."