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Addison Lee shifts from Ford to Volkswagen for latest fleet deal

Addison Lee Group is investing £41m in a 1,200 Volkswagen Sharan fleet, marking a shift from the existing Ford Galaxy specified two years ago.

Addison Lee is deploying 1,200 VW Sharans alongside its existing Ford Galaxy fleet

The Sharans – which will sit alongside the Ford Galaxy and the Mercedes E- and S-Class as part of the Addison Lee Group fleet – will be introduced over the next three months, and will be used for the company’s Select service. It’s a role which has traditionally been fulfilled by the Galaxy; the private hire giant invested £17m in the Ford MPVs two years ago.

Commenting on the reasons for the shift, an Addison Lee Group spokesperson said: “With any upgrade of this nature, we review all options to ensure the comfort and safety of our passengers, along with what is best for our business commercially and from a regulatory perspective.

“Our decision to upgrade the remainder of our Euro5 fleet to Euro6 Volkswagen Sharans reflected this – it was the best deal for our customers, drivers and the long-term strategy of the business.

“We continue to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with Ford and are keen to discuss with them and other suppliers about the next stages of development for the fleet.”

The firm added that the partnership with Volkswagen formed part of its move to shift towards a zero-emissions capable fleet by 2022. This includes plans to trial ultra-low emission vehicles from the end of this year, and the firm said it’s also assessing technology choices across other areas of the fleet and considering both plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles from a range of manufacturers.

Addison Lee also said the investment in the new Euro 6-compliant MPVs creates a fleet that is compliant with Transport for London’s (TfL) new Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which will come into force on 8 April 2019.

Lisa Burger, Addison Lee Group’s chief operating officer, said: “We share Transport for London’s ambition to clean up London’s air, and this multi-million investment in new vehicles will make our entire fleet compliant with TfL’s low emission standards and start the process of moving towards a zero-emissions capable fleet.”

Burger added: “We are keen to move quickly to an electric fleet for the benefit of London’s environment, but are limited by London’s charging network, which as the report by Dr. Rebecca Driver demonstrated, cannot support a shift to electric by the capital’s private hire and taxi industry.”

The move comes just weeks after Ford said it was moving away from MPVs to focus on SUVs as part of new performance plans.

A spokesperson for Ford commented: “As London and other urban fleets look ahead to legislation requirements, including ULEZ in the capital, hybrid technology is being assessed as demonstrated on the Transit Custom PHEV currently on test. Addison Lee is one of Ford’s 10 fleets testing Custom PHEV and providing feedback prior to the vehicle going on sale end of this year. Meanwhile two-thirds of Addison Lee’s fleet remains Ford, the relationship remains strong and we have a compelling product proposition for their long-term needs.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.