Arval’s recently-appointed Retail Sales Director Elliott Woodhead tells us what makes a good broker partner – and what Arval can offer in return. 

What part does the broker channel play in your remit?

It’s been a cornerstone of the division, which also comprises dealers, manufacturers and direct customers, since we started in 2009. I’d love to take credit for the good performance in the first half of the year, but the team was already achieving a strong growth in orders before I re-joined despite tricky market conditions.

There’s no magic formula.  We’ve built long term partnerships with our brokers driven by excellent relationships, innovation, competitive pricing and good customer service. I’m really looking forward to catching up with many old friends over the coming months.

What are your plans for the broker channel - are you looking to expand the network or reduce it and why?

We’re always open to the ‘right’ new broker joining our network – we’ve added six new ones so far this year.  For us, the ‘right’ Arval broker is one that places customers at the heart of their business, offering a service proposition and not just cheap lease rates.

We try to support that with innovative products like Arval Total Care, which provides a fully maintained and insured leased vehicle as a package. With the costs embedded within the lease, customers have a simple monthly payment for their vehicle costs – helpful at a time when cost of living is a challenge for many.

Additionally, Arval Re-Lease – our used vehicle leasing product – is being offered by four brokers currently. We see it as another good solution for customers during these challenging economic times. We like brokers who have this mindset of solving the problems their customers have, as this will drive longer term customer satisfaction, loyalty and growth.

How has the UK broker market changed since you last worked in the UK?

Consumer Duty was an emerging topic when I changed roles in 2018 and on my return to the UK it’s great to see that Arval has stepped up to apply a higher standard of consumer protection across our products and services. It’s particularly relevant to the broker market as it underpins the service culture we’re keen to nurture and promote.

It’s also great to see initiatives like the Women in Broking series and the Broker News Awards, which highlights the talent in our industry.  Since my first involvement in 2012 I felt the sector was an inclusive and entrepreneurial place to be, I’m proud to see that’s not changed over the years.

The BVRLA leasing broker fleet shrunk by 2.95% to 390,898 vehicles in 2023; where do you expect the market to be by the end of 2024 and why?

It won’t shrink this year if the beginning of 2024 is anything to go by!  Of course, I don’t have a crystal ball and we have a looming general election and even things like the football Euros and upcoming Olympic games can affect the mood of the country and consumer behaviour.  I am personally quite optimistic into the autumn at least.

Regardless, our team will focus on listening to the needs’ of our customers and exploring new avenues for growth – for example, we have started to introduce a salary sacrifice product into the channel. As always, we’ll listen to the needs’ of our brokers, try to make working with us as easy as possible and nurture the relationships that have been so productive and enjoyable over the last 15 years.

 

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