What a year!

2011 proved quite eventful for us.

The highlights were that we:

  • Had 3 new books published
  • Worked on the development of a new pan-Asian leasing company
  • Worked on interesting projects in France and the Netherlands
  • Helped to run 4 Buckingham Forums
  • Worked on 9 small advisory projects, mainly for investors looking to buy into the UK fleet market
  • Helped 3 major groups go out to tender for their global fleet requirements
  • Developed our new price optimisation software
  • Ran training and coaching sessions in 7 of the largest organisations in the UK
  • Gave 11 public talks, mainly on fleet- and pricing- related topics
  • Had a monthly column published in Fleet Week on the Mathematics of Leasing
  • Had 12 other articles published
  • Had 20,000 visitors to our website
  • Sold nearly 3,000 books

Our plans for 2012 include:

  • Building on the success of the Buckingham Forums
  • Running fleet conferences in Australia and the Far East
  • Implementing pricing software and solutions in a number of finance and leasing companies
  • Publication of two new leasing books

Happy New Year!

Press Release – 3rd edition of Managing Your Company Cars published

Colin Tourick has today published the 3rd edition of his fleet textbook Managing Your Company Cars, just a fortnight after launching his new tax book Company Car and Van Tax 2011-12.

This massive textbook – 550 pages – has been fully updated to October 2011. It is a comprehensive guide to vehicle management and leasing for the beginner and expert.

It is published in association with ALD Automotive and the taxation chapter was developed in conjunction with KPMG.

You can read reviews and see the contents pages.

There is no similar book on the market. Earlier editions have sold in 26 countries across the world.

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What’s best – leasing or buying?

Published in Business Car Manager March 2011

Everyone has an opinion on whether it is best to lease or buy.

Pop into your local dealership and the salesperson will be happy to sell you a car. Ask them if you’d be better off buying or leasing it and my guess is they’ll say buying it. As several dealer salespeople have told me over the year “leasing complicates the sale”. Which of course, it does. More paperwork to be filled in (by you and the salesperson), a credit check and then, horror of horrors, the embarrassing moment that does happen occasionally, where the customer is turned down for finance and turns on his heel and walks out of the showroom. Which means the salesperson hasn’t just lost the chance to arrange the finance, they’ve also lost the chance to sell the car.
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Should you be extending your leases?

Published in Fleet News October 2010

This remains a hotly-debated topic amongst fleet managers. Leasing companies report that in mid 2008 around 18% of car leases went into extension. This increased to 27% in late 2009 and has since fallen to 21%.

The average lease extension period increased from 6.6 months in mid 2008 to a peak of 8.9 months and has now fallen back to 7.5 months.

Clearly, the peak is now over but many companies are still extending their leases.  So, should you be joining them? That depends.

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Getting the price right. A (hopefully) thought provoking article.

Published in Leasing World, October 2010

The leasing industry has been hit hard by the recession and has responded in several different ways. Everyone in the sector knows the stories about lessors cutting out broker business, seeking efficiencies, reducing headcount and so on.

Yet very few lessors have spent any time working out how to quote optimum prices in the market. By ‘optimum price’ I mean quoting the rental that is most likely to win the business whilst at the same time being as high as possible. Clearly, if you quote a price slightly higher than your competitor you will lose the deal. And if you quote well below your competitor you will win the deal but at a lower margin than you could have achieved. You should be trying to ensure that you select the price that is just below the level your competitor is likely to choose. Impossible? No, not at all.

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Is now the time to reduce margins to boost volumes?

Published in Asset Finance Europe April 2010

The asset finance industry has navigated some troubled waters over the last couple of years, and the outcome has been different for individual players. One recurring theme though, for those strong enough to have weathered the storm, is that their margins have held up well. Everyone always knew there would be winners and losers from the recession, and, if some of my recent conversations are representative, it seems that some of the stronger players with access to cash are now wondering whether now might be the time to drive home their success by trimming their margins to boost the size of their portfolios.

Which takes us to the question: what is the best way to profitably boost volumes?

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How to buy … fleet finance

Published in Fleet World, April 2010

It is remarkably easy to buy fleet finance. You call one of the many suppliers of fleet finance – banks, finance and leasing companies or contract hire companies – tell them what you want, compare their prices and services and choose the one that seems offers what you want and the best combination of price and quality.

The hard bit, in fact, is to work out what you want. There are many different ways to finance your company cars, including outright purchase, contract hire, operating lease, contract purchase, finance lease, hire purchase, conditional sale, credit sale (as part of an employee car ownership scheme), salary sacrifice, loans, bank overdrafts and cash, and if you want to release cash from your fleet you could consider a sale and lease back too.

Broadly, these products fall into two camps: those that help you buy a vehicle and those where you pay for its use then hand it back. Continue reading

Should fleet managers be worried about the proposed lease accounting changes?

Published in Asset Finance Europe, November 2009

For decades, the accounting rules (SSAP21, then IAS17) have classified lease as either finance leases or operating leases (contract hire).  Finance leases were like loans; the hirer was committed to pay back the lessor’s total investment. Operating leases were like long term rentals; the lessor kept the residual value risk and needed to sell the asset to recover its investment in full. So finance leases were shown as liabilities on lessees’ balance sheet whereas operating leases were accounted for ‘off balance sheet’; the lease payments being expensed in the profit and loss account and the future rental liability shown as a note to the accounts.

Investment analysts have never much liked these classifications. Continue reading