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Crisis in van rental as leading firm shuts down

Date: 04 November 2010   |   Author: James Dallas

The beleaguered van rental industry has lurched into crisis with one major player set to close two of its six centres and another big name pulling out of the sector altogether.TLS Vehicle Rental has announced it is to close down by the end of 2010 having failed to find any "viable alternatives".

Parent company GE Capital said: "TLS experienced a dramatic reduction in business during the general economic downturn and despite extensive efforts over the last two years has been unable to sustain sufficient scale to remain a viable and ongoing concern."

The demise of the business will result in 140 job losses across the TLS head office in Sale and its four remaining branches in Glasgow, Carrington, Wednesbury and Grays.

Customers still running vehicles from the firm's fleet, which has shrunk to about 5000 units, have the option of either buying the vans or returning them to TLS for sale.

A spokesman for TLS confirmed the company's Broadway Motor Vehicle disposal operation would also close down.

He said GE had been attempting to sell TLS for several months but couldn't find a buyer. "It will just get the value of the vehicles," he said.

At its peak in 2005, TLS ran a fleet of 25,000 vans from 26 outlets.

Meanwhile, Glasgow-based Leaseway is in consultation with staff at its London and Birmingham outlets, which could see the centres close when discussions conclude on 17 December.

A spokesman for Leaseway said there would be "an inevitable reduction in jobs" if the operations were to close, although some of the 50 employees based at the two sites could transfer to other Leaseway branches.

The spokesman admitted the economic downturn had taken its toll on Leaseway's profitability.

"A business study highlighted issues already affecting the financial performance of the business," he said.

However, he claimed the potential closures would have little impact on the company's fleet of 1650 vehicles.