With the introduction of the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, and forthcoming Golf GTE, Tiguan, Touareg and Arteon PHEVs, plus corresponding launches by Audi, Škoda and Seat, the balance could tilt back. VWFS, while happy to embrace a group-level policy to conquest customers to own-marque brands, insists it will never force the market.
“We have a mantra and that’s to enable the customer to make an informed decision,” says Todd. “We get a customer on board and then look after them with a view to when they are renewing their vehicle, that we are the funder. And then it’s how we create opportunities for our sister brands to be suitably positioned, putting propositions to the customer that look attractive and are appropriate, but always understanding their requirements.
“If they choose to stay with their existing manufacturer, then, of course, that’s fine.” Across Europe, VWFS has an ambition to be the “number one fleet provider” and multi-marque will remain a “key cornerstone” to that strategy, Todd insists.
We have become better at non-Volkswagen makes. Previously all our maintenance went through the franchised dealers, including multi-marque. So, while competitors were playing an independent card, we’ve played the role of a captive, when we’re not.” (VWFS) chief executive officer Mike Todd.
That is now changing with independent repairers considered for non-Volkswagen Group brands, making leases more competitive.
“We want to be a market leader regardless of the make of car and to provide all of the add-ons the top leasing companies provide,” Todd adds.
The approach appears to be working. VWFS has steadily climbed the FN50 table over the past decade, increasing its risk fleet from fewer than 60,000 in 2012 to 201,000 today, making it the UK’s second largest contract hire company.