PSA Group merges contract hire brands to become 7th in the FN50

The PSA Group has launched a new contract hire brand, Free2Move Lease, which has been formed from the merger of Citroën Contract Motoring and Peugeot Contract Hire.

The new brand has a combined fleet size of more than 64,000 vehicles. Citroën Contract Motoring had 44,777 and sat 10th in last year’s FN50, while Peugeot Contract Hire had 19,286 and was 13th. The new brand is now seventh in the FN50 table, leapfrogging Zenith (58,392), Arnold Clark Finance (51,717) and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions (51,420).

Duncan Chumley, former sales director at Citroën Financial Services, has been appointed managing director of Free2Move Lease, with the brand officially launched on January 3.

Free2Move Lease sits within the newly created Free2Move brand, which launched in October and brings together the Group’s mobility services, including car sharing, connected services, fleet services and leasing.

Mobility is an important part of the group’s Push to Pass growth plan, which aims to deliver 10% group revenue growth by 2018 versus 2015, and an additional 15% by 2021.

Free2Move Lease is the first division of Free2Move to be launched in the UK. Other mobility services will follow and will be determined by market demand. Some will be aimed at retail rather than fleet customers.

Chumley told Fleet News: “In the first instance we are concentrating on our core business, which is contract hire. Our focus is to use the strength of both organisations [Citroën Contract Motoring and Peugeot Contract Hire], bring them together, and to be able to create a stronger leasing company and a better proposition for our customers.”

The PSA Group began communicating the changes to its customers last month.

“It’s a trading style change from Citroën Contract Motoring and Peugeot Contract Hire to Free2Move Lease with PSA Finance still being the legal entity for the finance contracts,” Chumley said. “Existing websites will remain and then over time we will slowly close those down and replace them with a new one.”

Chumley has also been on a recruitment drive with Martin Hamill, former director – quality and The Academy at PSA Peugeot Citroën (and prior to that, Citroën fleet director), appointed sales director, Shane Coomber moving over from PSA Finance to become operations director and former head of Citroën Contract Motoring James Birch appointed marketing and PR director from December 1.

A key change has been bringing all of the sales, operations, marketing and call centre staff together at Pinley House in Coventry rather than having staff in Coventry and Redhill.

It’s a move which has been welcomed by Martin Gurney, director of fleet and used vehicles at PSA Group, as the fleet team now have “one entity that we can work hand-in-hand with to secure fleet opportunities”.

All seven account managers from Citroën Contract Motoring and Peugeot Contract Hire have been retained but they now have a wider remit rather than simply looking after their respective brands.

“It will benefit corporate customers because rather than having to see two account managers, now they will see one,” Chumley said. “We tend to find in customer relationships that someone might have a lead relationship and if we can, if that person is available, they will remain the key contact. It’s not always possible, but we will try to keep consistency.”

For the first time there will be dedicated residual value (RV) and service maintenance and repair (SMR) management resource rather than this being looked after by Peugeot and Citroën DS.

Chumley is recruiting a remarketing and RV manager and an SMR manager, each with a team of two.

A public sector team of five, including a specialist vehicle manager, has also been created.

“The majority of public sector is via tender and the disadvantage we’ve had in the past is we’ve always been tendering with one product. So whenever we go to a tender we face fierce competition from the likes of Arval and Lex Autolease who tender a variety of products, including our own. Now we can tender for the whole PSA range,” Chumley said.

Free2Move Lease also has the ability to be multi-marque so if a request cannot be met by the PSA range it will look to other manufacturers. However, only a small proportion of the fleet mix is expected to be competitor brands.

Chumley expects the SME channel to remain the backbone of the new business as the majority of business has traditionally been through the dealer networks.

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