Archive for the ‘Van Hire News’ Category

Practical Car & Van Rental adds telematics to hire fleet

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

In-Car Cleverness logoPractical Car & Van Rental has partnered with vehicle-to-business technology provider, In-Car Cleverness (ICC) to make ICC’s advanced, feature-rich product available to Practical’s 130 franchisees, who collectively operate around 7,000 cars and vans in the UK.

Developed over 250 million miles of real-world testing and designed to be offered as an entirely scalable telematics solution, the In-Car Cleverness platform allows users to personalise the easy-to-use dashboard interface, tailor the data interrogated and define how it is analysed.

As well as analysing driver behaviour during rentals, customers will benefit from asset protection in terms of tracing fleet vehicles, advanced remote vehicle fault alerts, totally accurate mileage recording and a cutting-edge incident reconstruction system.

Practical Managing Director, Graham Lond, said:

“We feel the adoption of this solution by the network can only add value to our business model, will undoubtedly result in cost savings due to better vehicle management and protection and will give us more ammunition to keep insurance costs at a low level.”

Although this system will partly be used for asset management purposes, it’s interesting to see that Practical also appears to be planning to use the system to monitor drivers’ behaviour. As far as I know, using telematics is unusual in rental cars and vans, as the drivers are usually employed by someone else and are not directly accountable — or managed — by the rental firm.

Tim Eaves, ICC Commercial Director, believes this is a positive for rental firms:

“Whereas fleet operators know their drivers and can offer training and advice if the behaviour of individuals behind the wheel is costing them money, rental companies typically know nothing about the people driving their vehicles.

“That’s where the asset protection benefits of ICC come into their own – being able to see where their vehicles are, how they are being driven and exactly who is liable after an accident will save Practical money in insurance costs alone.”

Although most corporate rental customers will probably welcome this development, I wonder whether it migith be a culture shock for some drivers, who will be accustomed to a certain sense of anonymity and lack of direct responsibility when driving rental vehicles.

Although take-up will be optional, Practical expects the majority of its network to take up the ICC proposition, as it will complement Practical’s fleet insurance option, which is used by 95% of franchisees. Using both services is expected to help cut insurance costs for franchisees.

Warwickshire removals firm offers purpose-built van hire for movers

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
Brittania Squab self-drive removals van

One of Brittania Squab’s new self-drive removals vans

Most van rental companies offer standard luton box vans for removals customers, but these aren’t what professional removals firms use — and with good reason.

Standard lutons have a completely flat load floor with no wheel arch intrusions, but the price you pay for this is that the load floor of the van is above the wheels, and quite high off the ground.

This means that a tail lift is required for loading and unloading — a heavy piece of kit that is time-consuming and awkward to use for home movers, and which reduces the available payload of the van.

While a completely flat floor is essential for freight, which may be palletised or large, it is not a requirement for home removals, which usually consist of many, smaller items. As a result, purpose-built removal vans have low rear floors that usually have an internal step up to the mainload area.

Speaking as someone who moved house using one of these vans recently, I can confirm that they make loading and unloading DIY removals a lot easier and safer than with a conventional luton — but their specialist nature means that the majority of van hire companies can’t justify offering such vehicles, as they need their luton vans to suit the requirements of business users as well as home removals.

To address this gap in the market, Britannia Squab Group, which is based in Leamington Spa, in Warwickshire, has launched a new self-drive van hire service aimed at first-time home movers. Instead of standard lutons, the firm will offer purpose-made small removal vans, which offer similar size box bodies to lutons but have a low rear floor level that means a tail lift is not necessary — although a ramp is included for heavier items.

Britannia Squab’s vans also include tie rails to secure larger items and the firm will provide blankets and sack trucks, too. Emlyn Evans, managing partner of the Britannia Squab Group, said:

“The vehicle fills a gap in the small domestic removals market. There are plenty of vans available for hire but few suppliers can provide a suitable sized vehicle for the specific purpose of removals. Our vehicle has been specially equipped for removals to help safeguard our customers’ possessions.”

Self-drive van hire is available now and an online booking service is to be launched soon at

Thrifty Car & Van Rental opens Bolton branch

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Thrifty Car & Van Rental logoThrifty Car and Van Rental has opened a new branch in Bolton, offering a full selection of cars and vans for hire, including automatic and manual models.

Thrifty offers a comprehensive range of vans, including economy (e.g. MINI Clubvan), compact (e.g. Ford Transit Connect), short and long wheelbase panel vans (e.g. Ford Transit), extra-long wheelbase vans (e.g. Mercedes Sprinter XLWB) and luton box vans with tail lifts.

The new branch is situated on Raikes Lane which is just off Set Peter’s Way (A666), on the south side of Bolton town centre.

The full address is:

Unit 1B,
Raikes Lane,
BL13 1RP

You can find full details of the new branch, including sat nav coordinates and a map, on our Bolton Thrifty branch page.

Surge In Van Rental Demand From Trade Customers

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 vanWhite van man could be making a comeback, according to new figures from hire and leasing firm Motiva Group, which has seen a 25% jump in van rental demand over the last five months, along with a similar surge in short-term lease deals.

Peter Davenport, managing director of hire and leasing firm Motiva Group, said:

“Demand for vans has shot up massively in recent months. That part of our business was busy throughout 2013, but things really picked up around the end of last summer and there has been a noticeable difference ever since.

“As soon as we bring vans in, they’re gone and we’ve boosted our fleet twice in five months just to keep pace. Businesses are taking on new trade vehicles in big numbers and I can only see the trend continuing into the second quarter and well beyond.”

Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, reckons increasing demand for vans is good news for the country as a whole, saying:

“Van rental serves as a useful barometer for the state of the UK economy as transport is obviously a vital tool of any growing business. There was a particularly strong demand in 2013 and a 20 per cent increase in our members’ short-term van rental fleet.

Motiva Group, based in Stoke-on-Trent, has this week added an extra 50 small, short wheelbase and long wheelbase panel vehicles to a van fleet which now totals around 650.

Davenport added:

“Those figures mean we’ve increased our van fleet by almost a quarter, so it shows just how much demand has picked up in a few months. In fact, we’re now back to the levels of trade business we were seeing before the economy took a nosedive in around 2007/2008.”

The increase in van rentals seen by Motiva is being echoed by the demand for HGVs, which more than doubled in 2013. After completing 48 contracts for HGVs in 2012, the company’s M-Way truck solutions arm took 98 over the course of last year.

“There was a predictable drop in the call for both vans and trucks during the midst of the economic downturn”, said Davenport. Businesses weren’t sure when the market would recover so they were keeping their vehicles much longer.

But the economy has picked up and it seems like companies and even independent tradespeople are now showing much greater appetite to renew.”

Save Up To 33% On UK Van Rental In Hertz Global Sale

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

The Hertz Global Sale kicks off today, giving you the chance to save up to 33% on UK van hire from Hertz.

All you need to do to start saving is click through to Hertz and make your booking using the discount code below.


Click here to visit the Hertz website

Here are the details:

  • Valid from: 24th December 2013
  • Expires:  12th January 2014
  • Code: 783530
  • Terms and conditions apply, see Hertz website for details.

Northgate plc Reports 5.8% Fleet Growth Since April

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Van hire specialist Northgate plc (LON:NTG) has increased the size of its hire fleet by 2,900 to 52,800 since April — a 5.8% increase. The company reported its half-year results today, and said that the number of vehicles on hire had increased by 2,800 since the end of April, while its pre-tax profits had risen by 12% to £27.4m, continuing a trend I highlighted earlier this year.

Perhaps more impressively, Darlington-based Northgate also reported an increase of 1,200 vehicles on hire in Spain, suggesting that Spain’s economy may be showing signs of life, or perhaps that competition from smaller companies has weakened due to the country’s prolonged recession.

Falling profit margins

However, although Northgate’s growth is encouraging, investors may want to pay attention to its profitability. The firm’s operating margin has fallen from 24.4% to 18.7% over the last year, while its return on capital employed fell to 12.5%, down from 14.8% in April 2013.

Northgate says that the fall in profitability was expected, due to reduced levels of used vehicle sales and investment in new UK sites, from which 1,10 new cars and vans are now on hire, including 900 acquired during the last six months.

However, Northgate’s fleet expansion has come at the cost of a 2% increase in net debt, which rose to £370.4m, although the firm’s growth means that the increased value of its fleet has outpaced the increase in its debt levels, and net gearing fell from 102% at the end of April to 100% at the end of October.

Although Northgate’s growth strategy makes sense, I wonder if it’s proceeding too fast — Northgate says it is planning to open at least 20 new sites over the next three years, but if I was a shareholder I would want to see Northgate’s rather high gearing come down a bit more over the next six months, in case financing costs and interest rates rise over the next few years.

New locations

Northgate has opened two new car and van hire locations over the last six months (Slough and Basildon), with a further site in Charlton due to open shortly and two further sites in the London area due to open before April 2014.

Save 5% On Hertz Van Rental & Collect Nectar Points With

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Hertz logo


Need to hire a van before Christmas? If you’ve got a Hertz branch near you (click here for a list) then you may need our 5% discount code, which is valid until 31st December 2013. Full details below:

Hertz Discount Code:

5% off with Hertz Van Rental and collect Nectar points too….

Valid from: 16th August to 31st December 2013

Code: 778636

>>Click here to visit the Hertz website<<

Hertz is a name that’s associated with car rental all over the world. The company also offers a comprehensive van hire service in the UK with small, medium and long wheelbase panel vans and luton vans available to rent. Hertz also caters to the needs of students, offering student van hire to drivers aged 19 and over.

Green Motion Wins Green Fleet Rental Award For 5th Year

Monday, November 4th, 2013
The Green Motion team

Green Motion won the Green Fleet ‘Rental Company of the Year’ Award for the 5th year running in October 2013.

Green Motion Car and Van Hire celebrates being crowned “Rental Company of the Year” by Green Fleet Magazine for the 5th year running at their annual awards ceremony held at the Emirates Stadium on October 17, 2013. Green Motion beat off competition from Hertz, Zipcar and Enterprise.

Richard Lowden, the founder and chairman of Green Motion International said:

“We at Green Motion, both here in the United Kingdom and at our growing overseas operations have continued to work hard to reinforce our position and commitment to the environment. We are absolutely delighted to receive the ‘Rental Company of the Year Award’ for the 5th year running.”

Green Motion has received this accolade to support the company’s work and effort in the provision of offering customers an environmentally proven choice for vehicle rental.

Green Motion is continuing to expand its network in the United Kingdom with the opening of Glasgow International Airport, and West London in 2013, with further locations including Liverpool International airport, and South London planned for the early part of 2014. Along with the expansion within the United Kingdom, Green Motion also celebrated the opening of international locations including Hungary, Iceland, Jordan, Costa Rica and Florida in 2013.

For further information on the Green Fleet Award, please visit

Europcar Signs Exclusive Five-Year Car & Van Hire Deal With ExCeL London

Friday, November 1st, 2013

europcar_logo_new-2013Europcar has secured an exclusive five-year deal to be the official mobility partner of ExCeL London, Europe’s premier venue, which has recently hosted high-profile events including the Olympics, Paralympics and the G20 summit.

The first partnership of its kind to create a mobility centre within an exhibition and conference venue, the new contract begins on 1st January 2014. Ken McCall, Managing Director of Europcar UK and David Pegler, CEO of ExCeL London will mark the launch of the strategic alliance at ExCeL on Monday 4th November at 11am.

Europcar will deliver a transport solution for the whole site, helping to differentiate ExCeL from other exhibition spaces by offering visitors, exhibitors and staff access to a wide range of car and van hire services, including valet parking, a chauffeur-drive service from Prestige at Europcar and airport shuttle buses. In addition, exhibitors and suppliers will be able to hire vans from Europcar’s nationwide network for their trip to ExCeL, benefiting from one-way rentals, as well as delivery and collection, at competitive rates.

A highly visible Travel Hub on ExCeL’s main boulevard will provide visitors and exhibitors with access to Europcar’s global network while as the sole vehicle rental provider for the venue, Europcar will have unique promotional opportunities on the site, as a sponsor partner for major events.

“With over 5 million visitors in 2012, across its 100,000 sqm site, ExCel is London’s biggest venue and as Europe’s largest rental provider, Europcar is the perfect partner,” says Ken McCall, Managing Director, Europcar UK Group ahead of the photocall.  “We are looking forward to working closely with ExCeL to deliver a comprehensive transport and mobility solution, across the entire campus, delivering a premium service for attendees, staff and exhibitors, as well as local residents.

David Pegler, CEO of ExCeL London comments:

“Over the next five years, ExCeL will benefit from Europcar’s network of over 250 locations across the UK and fleet of over 45,000 cars and commercial vehicles, which will help to boost the experience for exhibitors and visitors.  This innovative and unique collaboration is a first for the UK, never before have we seen a mobility centre within an exhibition and convention centre. We strive to offer service excellence and our partnership with Europcar is another example of how we continue to invest in the industry and look at ways we can add value and differentiate ourselves, putting the needs of our customers at the heart of everything we do.”

Jolly Good Vehicle Rentals Expands With Wiltshire Branch In Chippenham

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Jolly Good Van hire logoWrexham-based independent car and van hire firm Jolly Good Vehicle Rentals (formerly known as Jolly Good Van Hire) has continued its franchise-based expansion by opening a new branch in Chippenham, to serve the south-west of England.

The Chippenham branch is the company’s sixth, following its foundation seven years ago — the company also has branches in Wrexham, Shrewsbury, Ely, Colwyn Bay and Deeside.

Jolly Good started out as a van hire business but has expanded to offer cars and campervans over the last few years, hence its recent change of name. On the van side of things, the firm offers small, medium, large and luton vans, as well as crew cab panel vans and 8/9 seat minibuses, such as the VW Caravelle.

Jolly Good also specialises in European van hire (the firm’s details are on our European van hire page) and offers a nationwide vehicle delivery service.