Volkswagen Financial Services acquires Fleet Logistics
Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) has acquired a 60% stake in Fleet Logistics. In an exclusive interview with Fleet Europe, VWFS explains the deal, and what’s next.
The acquisition, subject to approval by the relevant authorities, is the result of a strategic partnership between VWFS, a financial subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, and TÜV Süd, the inspection and certification specialists and (formerly) the sole shareholders of Fleet Logistics.
Bundle and develop
TÜV Süd will retain the remaining 40% of the company. Both shareholders have agreed not to disclose the purchase price, and to maintain the brand neutrality of Fleet Logistics.
The aim of the partnership is to bundle and develop both companies’ mobility offers for fleet customers, creating a complete range of products and services that combine travel and fleet management. To that end, the fleet management services of both companies will be merged, and a brand-neutral international platform for travel and fleet management will be created.
To create economies of scale, VWFS will transfer its subsidiary CarMobility to Fleet Logistics. Operating as an independent fleet management company in Germany since 2006, CarMobility has around 40,000 contracts on its books.
Strong international focus
“The strong international focus of Fleet Logistics complements our own global financial services activities,” says Lars Henner Santelmann, Chairman of the VWFS Management Board.
"This strategic partnership enables us to deliver significant added value to our fleet customers," says Patrick Fruth, CEO Mobility Division TÜV SÜD.
Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Germany, Fleet Logistics employs around 360 and operates in over 70 countries worldwide. It provides services in three main areas: fleet management, fleet consulting and fleet reporting. With around 200,000 vehicles in portfolio, mainly for large national and international fleet customers, Fleet Logistics is one of the world’s largest independent providers of fleet management services.
Considering VWFS is a lease company itself, will you continue the Fleet Logistics business model, in which it operates as the middleman between lease companies and fleet customers via a multibidding concept?
Malte Krause (VWFS Corporate Spokesman): “Yes, we will. The success of Fleet Logistics is based on the fact that it can offer its customers manufacturer-independent mobility services. This independence will continue to be an essential pillar for the future growth of Fleet Logistics. The strategic orientation as well as the implementation and achievement of Fleet Logistics’ targets are monitored within the framework of the shareholders’ meeting.”
One of the main selling points of Fleet Logistics is its independence from OEMs, lease companies, etc. This is now going to change. How is VWFS going to maintain and communicate the independence of Fleet Logistics’ independent position?
“Once again, the independence of Fleet Logistics will remain an essential pillar for its growth. That will not change. Additionally, both shareholders are convinced that corporate mobility is changing: travel and fleet management are converging. Business trips and company cars are increasingly seen as two sides of the same coin. Many younger employees no longer want their own car. Instead, they want mobility budgets for all modes of transport. With this joint venture, VWFS and TÜV Süd want to tap precisely into this market potential.”
What will happen with to Fleet Logistics activities in markets where they operate a franchise model (such as Russia, Romania or Israel) and with 100% TÜV Süd people (e.g. Singapore, Brazil, Turkey)?
“FleetLogistics will continue to offer its customers all services where it makes local sense. The aim is to further expand and establish its leading role in Europe and worldwide as an independent provider of mobility services. So for the customer, nothing will change.”
And what is the position of VWFS in VW importer countries where VWFS is not present but Fleet Logistics? Examples include the Netherlands with PON and Belgium with Volkswagen D’Ieteren Finance.
“We do not see any potential for friction with the importer. Instead, from a VWFS point of view, we are now able to offer fleet management solutions for our international clients in these countries too, which is a huge benefit.”
Image: Lars Henner Santelmann, Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen Financial Services (left) and Patrick Fruth, CEO Mobility Division, TÜV SÜD (right)