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LeasePlan mulls options for CarNext platform

LeasePlan has said it’s conducting a review of strategic alternatives for its CarNext.com business, which allows drivers to buy, lease or finance its ex-fleet cars.

LeasePlan is considering options for its CarNext.com business under the review

The plans have been revealed as part of the online 2018 Annual Report, which saw the leasing giant announce strong results for both markets that it operates in: the Car-as-a-Service sector for new cars under the LeasePlan brand as well as the high-quality 3-4 year-old used car market following the launch of its CarNext.com business in late 2017.

The CarNext.com pan-European digital marketplace enables customers to buy, lease or subscribe to a wide range of used cars both from LeasePlan’s European Car-as-a-Service fleet and a fleet of “trusted” third-party suppliers. It operates in both the B2B and B2C segments in Europe via 22 countries with a digital and physical presence, including 32 delivery stores, while an app is available in 36 countries. B2C volumes grew by 65% to approximately 50,000 cars sold B2C in 2018.

Ongoing plans will see LeasePlan build the CarNext.com pan-European digital marketplace but the firm has also said it’s currently reviewing various strategic alternatives.

A spokesperson for the company said: “As part of this strategic review, we may decide to separate CarNext.com as an asset light, commission-based online sales platform, whereby LeasePlan and other third-party vendors would sell their used cars via the CarNext.com platform. The review is still in a preliminary stage and no decisions have yet been reached.”

The annual report, which follows the publication a month ago of its 2018 results, also sets out targets for the core Car-as-a-Service business for new cars, which offers subscription-based mobility solutions with integrated services. The business now has 1.8 million cars in its fleet across more than 30 countries, with its corporate and SME segments growing well in 2018, and says it believes the megatrend from ownership to usership and subscription models will continue to accelerate, driven by digital disruption, market disintermediation and new business models.

The report added: “In our core Car-as-a-Service business for new cars, we will target disciplined pro table growth in the most attractive and service-intensive segments of the market, and continue to explore partnerships among asset-light mobility providers. We will also look to strengthen our leadership role in the shift towards more sustainable powertrains. Although EVs are still a small part of the market, we believe adoption will rise as emission regulations increase and EV costs fall. We facilitate EV adoption by developing attractive customer propositions and by transitioning our own employee fleet to EVs. In addition, we will continue to implement our Digital LeasePlan programme so that our business continues to grow efficiently and offers a superior service to our customers.”

Commenting in the report, CEO Tex Gunning said: “Looking ahead, we can achieve so much more in both of our markets. There is a clear megatrend from ownership to usership and subscription models taking place in both the new and high-quality used car markets that should underpin a sustained period of market growth. Furthermore, this shift towards subscription models will only accelerate, enabled by an ever-increasing rate of technological developments, including the emergence of autonomous electrified cars and the shift towards clean, renewable energy sources.”

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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.