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Leasedrive to reposition Masterlease

Date: 14 July 2011   |   Author:

Leasedrive is aiming to reposition its Masterlease business back to what it's best at, according to managing director David Bird.

"We want to refocus Masterlease on what I think it's best known as, from my 25 years in the industry," Bird told BusinessCar. "Great at operating in the blue-chip arena, for example years ago when it won the M&S business and retained it. We fundamentally said we were looking to reposition the business so it would focus on going back to its roots - brilliant service to a superb customer base."

Leasedrive Group, as it has recently rebranded from Leasedrive Velo, signed the deal to manage the Masterlease book late last year in the wake of its acquisition by financial specialist Investec, although the Masterlease brand itself was retained by former owner Ally Financial.

Bird confirmed Leasedrive's intention to retain Masterlease's presence in Birmingham, hopefully in its current International House location, and is in negotiations with Investec regarding the lease on that site.

The fleet size of the combined business is set to drop by around 5000 to 40,000 in the short term, with the run-out of business Bird feels doesn't sit with the blue-chip target profile.

"It will slim down as substantial Masterlease business was in white label and I would discount the provision of new leases into the SME sector," he said. The white label provision was a residue of Masterlease's former deal to supply GM UK's leasing of Vauxhall, Saab and Chevrolet, although the contract itself passed to ALD Automotive in 2009.

"It will settle down to 40,000. Still some run-off from white label - there is now a normal spread of manufacturers when before there was a lot of GM product," added Bird.

Bird said there are big opportunities in selling additional products such as daily rental and accident management to the Masterlease portfolio. "Masterlease was a contract hire provider and Leasedrive Velo was more service provision so we're looking at cross-selling," he said.

Looking to the future, there will be a big investment in back-office systems, firstly for the former Masterlease business, with the intention of eventually moving the Leasedrive system over. There will also be a focus on expanding the larger fleet blue-chip client base Leasedrive has previously focused on. "We can increase the business fairly substantially by taking on a few large customers rather than the SME route of lots of smaller customers," concluded Bird.

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