ANDY Bruce, the CEO of Glasgow-based leasing broker Fleet Alliance, has a unique perspective on the business.
Joining Fleet Alliance in August 2021, along with his colleague Nigel McMinn, Andy is a former CEO of car retailer Lookers plc.
So what are the differences and similarities between the leasing broker sector and the traditional dealership market?
Andy Bruce (pictured above) explains:
“The leasing broker sector and the franchised dealership world are two different but complementary channels to market. The emphasis in the dealership world is on the retail customer. Indeed, the OEMs tend to refer to them at retailers, pointing to the role they see for them in the market.
Single solution versus multi brand offering
“By its very nature, the franchised dealership offers a single brand solution where customers are offered the products and services in that particular brand and it’s backed up by the full, in store experience.
“That has been, and remains, the most popular way that retail customers buy cars but, as is the case in the wider retail market, there is a growing trend towards an online and multi branded solution and this is where the leasing brokers have a role to play.
“With our Intelligent Car Leasing business, we can show customers all makes and models and the ability to personalise their offer to suit their mileage and contract duration, all at the touch of a button and in the comfort of their own home.
“Aside from the convenience factor, there is an increasing desire for people to lease rather than to own assets like cars in the same way they do with mobile phones, for example. Simple, predictable monthly payments are what people are looking for and personal leasing is perfect for this.
Corporate service marks the difference
“On the corporate side of the market, the difference between leasing brokers and franchised dealerships is starker.
“In my experience, even the largest dealer groups are still mainly set up to supply the retail market and whilst they do have an offering for the SME market, they find it difficult to gain traction.
“On the other hand, the business model of leasing brokers is fundamentally set up to provide a one stop shop for all makes and models for the SME sector, where these businesses invariably run with multi brand fleets.
“For example, Fleet Alliance will competitively tender each and every car on an SME’s fleet across the panel of leasing companies we deal with to ensure the customer gets the best rentals on each one.
“In addition, recognising that many SMEs don’t have a fleet manager, we will provide access to free to use and sophisticated fleet management software to enable our customers to effectively manage their fleets.
“The dealer groups are not set up for this and, indeed, we offer this service on an outsourced basis to some dealer groups to help them access their local SME markets.
“Having looked at where the differences are, there’s one thing that’s a unifying characteristic across all market sectors, both online and physical.
“The one over-arching factor is the need to provide excellent customer service, and customers want and expect outstanding customers service -just delivered in slightly different ways. At Fleet Alliance and Intelligent Car Leasing we pride ourselves on the award-winning quality of our customer service.”
Ralph Morton is the leading journalist in the leasing broker sector and editor of Broker News, the website which provides information and news for BVRLA-registered leasing brokers. He also writes extensively on the fleet and leasing market in both the UK and Europe.