2018 Press Releases


The number of service outlets in Fleet Assist's nationwide network with the technical competency to handle the increasing number of plug-in vehicles operated in the corporate sector has reached almost 100% with the business at the forefront of being able to manage service, maintenance and repair (SMR) on alternatively-fuelled vehicles.

Fleet Assist provides leading contract hire and leasing companies and rental organisations with a network of more than 5,000 franchise and independent service outlets which undertake SMR work on vehicles supplied to customers across the UK.

Virtually all of the 4,500 franchise garages in the Fleet Assist network now have the capability and technical knowledge to maintain hybrid and plug-in vehicles, alongside more than 400 independent outlets, which equates to approximately 80% of the network.

What's more, as the plug-in vehicle fleet revolution continue to gather pace Fleet Assist, the leading supply chain management specialist to a significant number of the UK's major contract hire and leasing companies collectively operating almost 900,000 vehicles, will continue to review and expand the network number of franchise and independent service outlets with suitably trained technicians and the required diagnostic equipment.

Chris Crow, head of network and technical services, Fleet Assist, said: "As vehicle technology evolves so do the requirements of an aftersales network and how it delivers solutions to ensure costs are controlled, whilst vehicle downtime is kept to a minimum.

"Government initiatives amplify the pressure on fleet decision-makers and company car and van drivers to select ultra-low emission vehicles. In the vanguard of that development are fleet companies supplying hybrid, plug-in or pure electric vehicles.

"That presents fleet companies with new challenges in ensuring their network of repairer garages, whether franchise or independent, are appropriately equipped and have sufficient suitably trained mechanics to safely maintain and carryout repairs on such vehicles as fleet volumes grow.

"Therefore, it is essential that Fleet Assist continues to proactively manage its network and ensure it evolves and remains fit-for-purpose to the total satisfaction of customers in a rapidly developing new car and van market."

In 2018 registrations of alternatively-fuelled cars are almost 22% up on the first 10 months of last year, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, taking a near 6% market share.

With the government's focus on improving air quality through the take-up of alternatively fuelled vehicles, Mr Crow said: "As is the case with conventional fossil powered vehicles, proactively managing the garage network that fleet operators use for SMR work on car and vans - and a contract hire and leasing company works with - is essential to effective and efficient vehicle operations and cost-control. A one-size fits all solution is no longer relevant."

Fleet Assist works actively with motor manufacturers to ensure the franchised garages on its network can undertake SMR work on hybrid and plug-in vehicles and receives updates on dealer capabilities, as and when they change.

Furthermore, some fleet operators also require access to independent garages to undertake SMR work on fleet vehicles. Mr Crow said: "We are actively working with the independent garages on our network, and a number of industry associations, to ensure they are up to the challenge.

"These garages must have technically qualified mechanics possessing the appropriate Institute of the Motor Industry technical accreditation, or equivalent, to safely undertake the required SMR work on these vehicles, outside of the franchised network.

"As technology progresses and the knowledge and diagnostic equipment required to maintain these vehicles grows, we review the qualifications held by all of our network independent garages to ensure they remain current, along with equipment capability."

Mr Crow added: "To ensure the network has sufficient capacity to manage the peaks and troughs of SMR workflow and keep booking lead times to a minimum, Fleet Assist regularly reviews the size of the garage network. Therefore, as the volume of hybrid and plug-in vehicles on the roads continues to rise, Fleet Assist will seek to expand the network of suitably qualified and equipped garages, both franchise and independent."


A Fleet Assist management conference featuring activities from a book on leadership entitled 'Boat to Boardroom' has led to the company sponsoring the author in his latest round the globe sailing adventure.

Fleet Assist, the UK's leading supply chain management specialist to a significant number of the UK's major contract hire and leasing companies collectively operating almost 900,000 vehicles and rental firms and with an extensive network of more than 5,000 garages, is sponsoring Alex Alley.

Mr Alley co-wrote 'Boat to Boardroom', which provides high-performance lessons for leaders and teams based on his experience from competing in the Global Challenge Round the World Yacht Race in 2004/5.

Now Mr Alley, who has sailed since childhood, has represented England in international competitions and has set a number of world records, is shortly to embark on a solo round-the-world navigation in a 40-foot racing boat called Pixel Flyer.

Aiming to break the solo non-stop eastbound around the world 2013 record for a 40-foot boat of 137 days, 20 hours 1 minute and 57 seconds set by Chinese sailor Guo Chuan, the boat displays the Fleet Assist logo on its hull. The yacht, nicknamed 'Pixel Boat' is called Pixel Flyer because it has more than 6,000 5cm by 5cm squares on its hull and each one can include a picture or logo.

Due to leave the UK on Monday (October 29) for France and then, depending on weather, set sail in early November, the record-breaking attempt has been more than nine years in the planning.

Mr Alley said: "The entire adventure is crowd funded making it the first sailing record bid to be so funded. I am very grateful to Fleet Assist for its support.

"Since the management conference we have had great fun sailing together and on my return I'm looking forward to working further with Fleet Assist on other leadership-style events."

Karen Ewer, head of business development at Cambridgeshire-based Fleet Assist, said: "Our management conference was focused on working together and team building. Activities were based on those referenced in Alex's book, which uses case studies from the race to help demonstrate leadership and teamwork in action.

"Fleet Assist's decision to sponsor Alex in his record attempt has further bonded the business and the employees with him. We all wish him great success and will be following his adventure via his regular internet updates and tracker that exactly pinpoints the boat's location."

Follow Alex Alley's solo round-the-world navigation world record bid at www.alexalley.com and via the tracker link at http://my.yb.tl/alexalley


Fleet Assist is working hard to keep its customers and its extensive network of more than 5,000 garages aware of issues a 'hard' Brexit could lead to in terms of potential costs and increased vehicle downtime.

As British government negotiations with the European Union continue in the months remaining until the UK leaves on March 29, 2019, Fleet Assist, the leading supply chain management specialist to a significant number of the UK's major contract hire and leasing companies collectively operating almost 900,000 vehicles and rental firms, is under taking a review of a number of initiatives in a bid to ensure its customers and network of garages are prepared.

Amid huge uncertainty as to the outcome of the negotiations and fears that a 'hard' Brexit - or 'no-deal' Brexit - could trigger the imposition of World Trade Organisation tariffs, Karen Ewer, Fleet Assist's head of business development, said: "We are regularly updating our garage network as to the possible impact of a 'hard' Brexit and providing our best advice notably in terms of parts stocking levels.

"In addition, Fleet Assist is also exploring and building our relationships with a number of parts suppliers.

"It is business-critical that our partners - service outlets and parts suppliers - are as prepared as possible for whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations are so that they continue to offer a first-class and uninterrupted service to fleet customers once the UK leaves the European Union."

Trade tariffs introduced in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit would add around £1,500 to the price of a new car and £1,700 to the price of a new van sold in the UK and imported from the European Union, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), unless manufacturers and their dealer networks were able to absorb the additional costs. Furthermore, tariffs could add an average 4.5% to the cost of parts prices.

Meanwhile, stricter border controls would, inevitably, result in delays in the supply of imported parts and, explained Mrs Ewer: "As most garages operate a 'just-in-time' parts ordering process it is envisaged any delays could lead to increased vehicle downtime.

"That is why Fleet Assist is in discussions with its network of garages with regards to parts stocking and parts suppliers to minimise the impact of a 'hard' Brexit on service, maintenance and repair (SMR) work and fleet operations."

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes has said: "Tariffs alone should be enough to focus minds on sealing a withdrawal agreement between the European Union and UK."

He has also warned of "disruption and damage" to the European automotive industry in the event of a 'hard' Brexit, including to the delivery of billions of pounds worth of components and parts. Today, the vast majority enter the UK without customs' checks but that would change in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit.

Any potential increase in new car and van prices could cause fleets to extend vehicle replacement cycles. That would replicate measures taken by some fleets in the wake of the 2007/8 bank sector-led financial crisis and subsequent recession and more recently as a result of manufacturer vehicle supply disruption caused by introduction of the new Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure governing car and van homologation.

Mrs Ewer said: "The impact of any price rises may, we believe, cause fleets to consider extending vehicle holding periods thus increasing the age of cars and vans. That, in isolation, should not be seen as a concern. However, it is likely to mean that vehicles will require more extensive SMR work which will be of larger value and take more time. The knock-on effect of that could be some workshop congestion."

However, Mrs Ewer added: "It should be noted that post-2008 part of this scenario played out and the impact on workshop congestion was not significant."

Fleet Assist is also concerned that the value of Sterling could fall against the Euro and other major currencies, which would have an impact on the cost of imported goods potentially resulting in a 'double whammy' on the price of new cars and vans, components and parts if tariffs were also imposed.

Mrs Ewer said: "In the event of a 'hard' Brexit these two factors - price rises as a result of tariffs and a fall in the value of Sterling - tend to indicate that the cost of parts could increase. However, some solace should be gained that the manufacture of components in the UK is growing, making local supply easier."

Currently it is estimated that some 80% of replacement car parts fitted to British cars are imported, with almost three-quarters of those coming from European Union-based suppliers.


Fast-expanding Fleet Assist has promoted Karen Ewer to the newly created position of head of business development.

Karen, who joined Fleet Assist in January 2011 as a business development manager, now manages the company's five-strong business development team working with a significant number of the UK's major contract hire and leasing companies collectively operating almost 900,000 vehicles.

The team is focused on growing Fleet Assist's customer portfolio and increasing the penetration of business into the company's nationwide network of more than 5,000 service outlets which undertake service, maintenance and repair (SMR) work on vehicles supplied by contract hire and leasing companies to customers across the UK. The team is also looking to further develop rental business and the supply of cars to independent rental companies and garages seeking courtesy vehicles.

Fleet Assist is the UK's leading supply chain management specialist and recently announced plans to grow the network of service outlets due to significant interest from more contract hire companies as well as rental firms in helping them to manage vehicle SMR.

Fleet Assist's sophisticated IT systems that drill down and analyse all the data captured to provide customers with detailed information on every aspect of each vehicle's SMR profile during its fleet life are also a powerful weapon in securing new business.

Karen started work in the fleet industry almost 20 years ago at Ford Rental before spending nearly two years at Fleetline ahead of joining Fleet Assist.

She said: "I have gained a deep understanding of the Fleet Assist business and have got to know customers and understand their requirements in a significantly cost-focused and data-driven environment.

"Fleet Assist has been very successful in growing its contract hire and leasing company customer base and more recently has started to win business with rental companies wanting to use the network of service outlets."

Karen added: "With services provided covering significantly more than 900,000 company vehicles, the business development team is focused on helping Fleet Assist reach the one million mark in the near future."

Vincent St Claire, managing director, Fleet Assist, said: "Karen has proven herself to be a dedicated and customer-focused member of the Fleet Assist team. Her appointment to this role and becoming part of the senior management team reflects our ongoing commitment to invest in assisting our customers."


Vehicle service, maintenance and repair (SMR) expenditure data reflecting the aftersales spend of the leading UK contract hire and leasing companies with Fleet Assist has passed the £2 billion mark.

The company, which launched in 2003, is today the leading supply chain management specialist to a significant number of the UK's major contract hire and leasing companies collectively operating almost 900,000 vehicles.

In its 15-year history Fleet Assist has built up a wealth of vehicle SMR data to the extent that today a diverse range of organisations utilise the company's consultancy service to obtain in-depth information on fleet car and van in-life expenditure to help establish real world whole life operating cost trends.

Jonathan Smith, chief information officer, Fleet Assist, said: "We now have the staff resources and sophisticated IT systems available to drill down and analyse all the data we have captured to provide customers with detailed information on every aspect of each vehicle's SMR profile during its fleet life.

"Such data is hugely powerful to organisations as they seek to understand how fleet SMR expenditure continues to change and how savings can be made by comparing different manufacturers and models."

Fleet Assist launched with the aim of providing a network of franchised and non-franchised service outlets to perhaps 100,000 vehicles operated by contract hire and leasing companies.

But today, Fleet Assist provides leading contract hire and leasing companies with a nationwide network of more than 5,000 service outlets which undertake SMR work on vehicles supplied to customers across the UK.

From an initial network of approximately 1,500 franchise and independent garages and five founding contract hire and leasing companies including Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, JCT600 Vehicle Leasing Solutions, Marshall Leasing and Volkswagen Financial Services, Fleet Assist has expanded year-on-year and now handles far in excess of 1,400 'jobs' per day on behalf of more than half of the UK's top 50 contract hire and leasing companies with an annual SMR spend in excess of £175 million per annum.

What's more, Fleet Assist, headquartered in Gaynes Hall, an old Cambridgeshire manor house, has added a raft of additional services and is targeting further growth.

In addition to network management, services now provided by Fleet Assist include:

  • Service booking enabling customers to direct work to network member garages
  • Vehicle maintenance authorisation
  • Undertaking franchise dealer 'health checks' to help them maximise aftersales business opportunities
  • Delivering consultancy services to a range of organisations, including motor manufacturers, seeking to use the company's fleet SMR data and marketplace knowledge.

Vincent St Claire, managing director, Fleet Assist, said: "Looking back when the business was launched it was not envisaged that it would expand and evolve in terms of the range of services provided beyond delivering a network of service outlets to a few contract hire and leasing companies."

Now employing almost 50 people, Mr St Claire continued: "Service booking, maintenance authorisation and other products were not on our radar. However, we had more and more interest from both garages wanting to join the network and win fleet vehicle SMR work and an ever-growing number of leasing companies wanting us to provide them with a managed network of service outlets assessed against established quality and service standards and price. The resulting expansion has led to the company breaking through the £2 billion mark in terms of recorded leasing company SMR spend since Fleet Assist's launch."

Peter Cakebread, managing director, Marshall Leasing, said: "We were delighted to support Fleet Assist at its inception, as we knew and appreciated what the company was looking to achieve. In particular, the concept of a buying consortium to leverage purchasing power was attractive, as it enabled us to play on a level field with our larger competitors.

"Over the years Fleet Assist has proven itself to be reliable in managing a network of service providers so as to provide a consistently high level of service to our clients. This is closely aligned with our own service offering.

"Fleet Assist regularly proves its flexibility, for example in assisting with maintenance authorisation cover at short notice due to a long term staff absence within Marshall Leasing. This was much appreciated as it enabled us to maintain service levels through this period.

"We value long term relationships with clients and suppliers alike, and Fleet Assist has proved a consistently valuable partner, with a detailed knowledge of our particular requirements."

Brian Nott, head of vehicle operations at Tuskerdirect, said: "We have had a very close working relationship with Fleet Assist. The company is professional and knows exactly what it is doing.

"Fleet Assist has not only stuck with its initial brief, but has developed other products including a service booking facility which works very efficiently.

"Vincent St Claire and Jonathan Smith are experienced industry experts who are continually active and always looking to further improve standards."

Looking forward, Mr St Claire said: "We would like to continue to grow the network of service outlets; we are seeing significant interest from more contract hire companies as well as rental companies in helping them to manage vehicle SMR, the latter taking Fleet Assist into a different sector of the fleet market; and, with an ever-increasing focus on cost management there is growing interest from customers in utilising our vehicle maintenance authorisation service."

Developments have also included the launch of Fleet Assist's industry-leading Atlas operating platform that will underpin the company's future growth and drive customer efficiencies particularly with the emergence of the 'connected car'.