Builder turns to Alphabet to provide fleet funding
The deal will also see Alphabet, which is part of the BMW Group, supply daily rental cars and driver licence checks for all employees who drive on business.
McCarthy and Stone sought a new fleet supplier after its previous leasing company withdrew funding when the group underwent a corporate restructuring in 2009.
McCarthy & Stone contacted Alphabet after several potential providers turned down the opportunity to supply the group, which has built more than 40,000 homes in the UK over the last 30 years.
Michael Ball, chief financial officer of McCarthy & Stone, said: 'Some of the other companies we approached weren’t even willing to talk to us because, on paper, we were a brand new company despite our long history. Alphabet was willing to look behind the face value situation and do the work to understand our true financial position, which is actually very strong.
'Since then we have been working with Alphabet on the implementation for several months and have been impressed with their efficiency, speed and attention to detail.'
Alphabet is supplying BMW, Mercedes and VW/Audi cars on contract hire. For environmental reasons, the majority of grades in the Group’s scheme are capped at either 140g/km or 160g/km of CO2. Drivers obtain quotes and place orders directly with Alphabet through the Alphabet Online portal.
McCarthy & Stone described the vehicle pricing negotiated by Alphabet with manufacturers as 'excellent' and said that the new car scheme has been received really positively by drivers. Thanks to the competitive pricing, and the ease with which drivers can compare quotes using Alphabet Online, 60 orders have already been placed since the scheme went live on 16 March 2010 and three of the first 10 orders received by Alphabet were from drivers who previously took cash allowances.
As part of its health and safety compliance procedures, McCarthy & Stone is using Alphabet’s driver licence checking service for all drivers and authorised users of company vehicles. Some of these checks will cost the group nothing as Alphabet gives all its customers a free driver licence check and online driver risk assessment with every new vehicle they order.
Michael Ball added: 'Alphabet has also helped us with our policy and I’ve found them a first-class organisation to deal with. The online functionality they provide to enable our fleet drivers to select vehicles saves administration for us and for Alphabet. They have been extremely proactive and very helpful.
'We had a moratorium on ordering new cars for a year but now that we have this arrangement with Alphabet the shackles are off and we can move forward. It’s been received very positively within the organisation.'