Archive for the ‘Van Hire News’ Category

Sold #2: Practical Car and Van Rental changes hands

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Practical Car and Van Rental has been sold, according to a report on the Business Car website.

The website reported that Practical, which has 136 UK hire outlets and a total of 3,000 vehicles, has been purchased by a UK firm called Tudor Holdings, which also owns a Kent and Sussex-based firm called Kent Auto Panels, a car dealership group.

The deal is the second sales of a large independent vehicle hire group to be announced this week — on Wednesday, I reported on the sale of Burnt Tree Commercial Vehicle Rental to Enterprise, a deal that will create a combined fleet of more than 25,000 commercial vehicles.

In both cases, the amounts paid for the acquisitions have not been disclosed, as both deals were between two privately-held companies.

Enterprise buys Burnt Tree Vehicle Rental

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Enterprise Rent-A-Car today announced the acquisition of Burnt Tree, one of the UK’s largest providers of commercial rental vehicles to companies and public sector organisations. The purchase increases the breadth of vehicles and services that Enterprise can provide to its customers under its flexible commercial vehicle hire division, Flex-E-Rent.

The agreement includes Burnt Tree’s diverse commercial fleet of 17,000 vehicles, including commercial vans, HGVs, refrigerated trucks and accessible minibuses, its proprietary fleet management technologies, as well as its network of 20 branches and a team of 400 employees.

In the immediate short-term, the Enterprise Flex-E-Rent and Burnt Tree businesses will continue to operate as two separate brands, with a view to creating a combined entity that will be headquartered in Shrewsbury. The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, significantly increases Enterprise’s value proposition in the flexible commercial vehicle rental sector and will take its fleet of commercial vans and trucks to more than 25,000.

Enterprise UK and Ireland managing director, Mike Nigro, said:

“We are committed to the growth of our flexible commercial vehicle business, which has grown organically in recent years.

“We could immediately see the potential of Burnt Tree to give our customers access to skills and services that are particularly suited to the needs of commercial vehicle customers. Burnt Tree also has the same culture of delivering outstanding customer service as Enterprise and shares a rich heritage of conducting business in the UK.

“Burnt Tree has some unique expertise that it can bring to Enterprise and it will also benefit from becoming part of a truly global organisation. The combined business post-acquisition will be far stronger with greater economies of scale and better technology, while the transfer of knowledge will allow us to better serve our customers.”

The new business will be led by Danny Glynn, Director, Enterprise Flex-E-Rent. Burnt Tree chief executive, Richard Metcalfe, will remain in an advisory capacity to help steer the direction of the combined business.

Richard Metcalfe said:

“Last year we stated our ambition to become the leading and largest business in our industry. In time, this agreement will allow Burnt Tree to achieve its full potential to become the market leader. It will become part of the world’s largest vehicle rental company, which, like Burnt Tree, is privately owned.

“I know that there is both the vision and resources to grow the business over the long-term, which means there will be opportunities for people here. I would like to thank everyone sincerely at Burnt Tree for all their hard work and for making the business such a success. This agreement marks the next phase of growth for the business.”

Shrewsbury-headquartered Burnt Tree has been operating for more than 30 years, while Enterprise is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the UK this year. As well as its Flex-E-Rent division, Enterprise also operates a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles from the UK’s largest network of car hire branches.

Glass carrier specialist Supertrucks launches rental service

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Supertrucks Rental Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

One of the Supertrucks Rental Mercedes-Benz Sprinter glass carrier vans

Hiring a standard van is enough for many jobs, but when it comes to carrying glass, a standard van isn’t much good.

That’s why glass carrier specialist Supertrucks has launched a rental service offering 3.5t Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans which have been converted to carry sheets of glass up to 3.2m x 2.5m in size.

The latest initiative from Merseyside-based Supertrucks is aimed at those needing an extra truck or van to help them cope with increased customer demand, or to replace a vehicle which is off the road as a result of accident damage or mechanical failure.

As Supertrucks Manager Dave Hill explains:

“Anyone whose business entails transporting big pieces of glass know well that when an urgent requirement for additional transport arises, the local van hire outlet is not an option because their vehicles are not fit for purpose.

“Glass is a fragile product so what’s needed is a specialised vehicle, built to do the job. And that’s where we come in.”

Supertrucks Rental’s new Sprinters are available for short- or long-term hire and are fitted with anodised external racks capable of carrying sheets of glass up to 3215mm x 2540mm in size, along with roof racks with drop-down ladders at the rear. Inside, there are two more racks, one running the full length of the body, the other shorter to allow for the side door.

“There’s definitely a demand for this new service,” continues Dave. “It’s been welcomed by several customers and we’ve already taken bookings for rental vehicles. Looking ahead, if Supertrucks Rental takes off as we’re confident it will, we also intend to offer rigid trucks for hire.”

The UK’s number one manufacturer of specialised glass carrying commercial vehicles, Supertrucks was acquired earlier this year by the fast-growing Bevan Group. Since then the business has gone from strength-to-strength. The factory at St Helens has been working flat out, with new staff recruited and overtime and weekend shifts introduced.

Save 10% on Questor van hire excess insurance – EXCLUSIVE

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Hiring a van this summer?

Don’t forget to plan for the cost of insurance — van rental companies’ standard insurance excess levels for vans are usually several hundred pounds and normally exclude glass, tyres and roof damage.

For a limited period only, you can SAVE 10% on Questor van hire excess insurance — EXCLUSIVE to

Van hire excess insurance provides cover for the excess on your van rental insurance policy, protecting you from a big payout in the case of any accidental damage.

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Valid from: 16th June 2014

Expires: 31st August 2014






Visit the Questor website for more information on excess insurance.

Could Uber-style van app slash demand for van hire?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Traffic light at amberAnyone who was in London on 11 June is likely to have found that the capital’s traffic was even worse than usual, thanks to a protest by the capital’s black cab drivers, who parked up in Trafalgar Square to complain about the in-roads being made into their archaic and closed-shop business practices by mobile phone app Uber.

[Uber is an app that allows anyone needing a taxi to use their phone's GPS to find the nearest available taxi (normally a minicab), book it, and pay for it, if necessary.]

Uber’s makers says that it improves the efficiency of taxi networks in dense urban areas, and I’d tend to agree. Black cab drivers, of course, are opposed, as the growing popularity of Uber means that more drivers are using their phones to summon minicab taxis, rather than walking the streets looking for a black cab.

Uber for vans?

In the UK, services such as Uber are restricted to passenger transport — but in Hong Kong, a new startup, GoGoVan, is doing the same thing for urban freight services.

The premise behind the business is that while some businesses have their own dedicated fleet of vehicles, many don’t, and rely on ‘man and van’ services, couriers and daily-rented vans to collect and deliver goods around large cities. According to the firm’s chairman, Gabriel Fong, in Hong Kong, 35,000 of the city-state’s 70,000 registered vans are essentially owner-operator or small courier companies. Historically, they’ve relied on telephone-based call centres for business, but the GoGoVan app speeds means that drivers can receive instructions much faster and with far greater geographic accuracy — meaning they can sometimes be at the job within minutes.

The company gathers feedback on each job and rates drivers, removing any who consistently fail to meet the required standards.

Could it work in the UK?

So could this model work in the UK? GoGoVan has already expanded to Singapore and recently secured a ‘seven figure’ round of funding and is targeting international expansion within the Asia-Pacific region, into cities such as Tokyo and Seoul. I can see how it could work in Europe, with the proviso that, in the UK at least, we don’t have the same culture of ‘calling a van’ like we call a taxi.

In my experience, most businesses have direct relationships with courier and light haulage companies — call centre-based services such as those with which GoGoVan is competing are less common, although the rise of parcel websites such as is perhaps a sign that this might be changing.

After all, as long as the price and service are right, who cares who the provider is?

Naturally, this might have a damaging effect on the self-drive van hire business in urban areas — after all, if you could call up a van with driver on your phone within, say, half an hour, you might not go to the trouble of hiring a van for the day to drive yourself…

Scottish van hire firm opts for 100 Mercedes-Benz Citans

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

TIN Vehicle Rental Mercedes CitansScotland’s leading business van hire specialist, TOM Vehicle Rental, has taken delivery of 100 new Mercedes-Benz Citan small vans.

Supplied by Dealer Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Ayr, the latest additions to the TOM fleet are all 109 CDI models powered by high-torque 1.4-litre engines rated at 90 hp. Customers can choose between Long and Extra-long versions, according to their cargo-carrying requirements.

To enable its customers to benefit from improved fuel efficiency and a lower carbon footprint, TOM chose BlueEFFICIENCY specification for a significant proportion of the new Citans.

The Citan BlueEFFICIENCY offers an economy figure of 65.7 mpg, and CO2 emissions as low as 112 g/km, thanks to features including low rolling-resistance tyres, an optimised battery and alternator management system, and the ECO start/stop function, which automatically cuts the engine when the vehicle is stationary and restarts it as the driver prepares to move off.

TOM Group Operations Director James Rafferty says:

“As a rental operator we want vehicles which are reliable and cost-effective over their whole life. The Citan offers a class-leading warranty which will protect our maintenance position and ensure that we are covered for the working life of the vehicle.

“Equally important, the Citan is also extremely fuel-efficient, which makes it a highly attractive proposition for customers – these new vans are already proving very popular, with many having been snapped up for long-term contracts by established customers.”

TOM was founded in Airdrie some 20 years ago, and still has headquarters in the town. The firm only hires vehicles to business users and now has a fleet of more than 6,000 vehicles, the vast majority of them vans.

A market leader in Scotland, TOM last year opened a depot in Trafford Park, Manchester, and continues to march southwards, recently picking up business as far away as London.

The Mercedes-Benz Citan is the manufacturer’s first small van and has a volume carrying capacity of up to 3.8 m³, with a maximum payload potential of 735 kg. Citan panel vans are also available in Compact length, while the Citan Traveliner is based on the Long wheelbase and has a folding rear bench seat, allowing it to carry the driver and up to four passengers. The Citan Dualiner has the same seating configuration but, because it is based on the Extra-long format, also offers a practical cargo space.

EXCLUSIVE: Save 10% On Questor Van Hire Excess Insurance

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Save 10% on Questor van hire excess insurance — EXCLUSIVE to

We’ve teamed up with the good people at Questor to offer you an exclusive 10% discount code for Questor insurance.

Van hire excess insurance provides cover for the excess on your van rental insurance policy, protecting you from a big payout in the case of any accidental damage.

Here are the details:

Valid from: 16th June 2014

Expires: 31st August 2014






Visit the Questor website for more information on excess insurance.

Hinckley Van Rental now offers 3.5t vehicle transporters

Monday, June 2nd, 2014
Hinckley Van Rental vehicle transporter

One of Hinckley Van Rental’s vehicle transporters (image courtesy of Hinckley Van Rental)

Longstanding advertiser Hinckley Van Rental has recently added 3.5t vehicle transporters to its fleet.

Capable of carrying cars and small vans weighing up to 1,500kg, these Citroen transporters are a flexible and useful addition to the firm’s fleet, enabling rental customers to transport vehicles themselves.

Each transporter comes equipped with straps, a winch and orange safety beacons, and Hinckley Van Rental staff will show all customers how to use the transporter safely when they collect the vehicle, so first-timers are welcome.

Examples of target customers are people who have bought untaxed or non-running cars — perhaps on eBay or at auction.

The transporters can be driven on a standard category ‘B’ car licences, but if you are thinking of hiring one of these transporters, you should make sure the weight of the vehicle you wish to carry does not exceed the transporter’s 1,500kg payload: many 4x4s, pick-ups and some large cars weigh considerably more than this. (For example, a Mitsubishi L200 pick-up weighs around 1,800kg, unladen).

Very few van hire companies offer vehicle transporters, so I suspect demand for Hinckley’s transporters will be strong — advanced booking is advised.

Hinckley Van Rental is located on Barleyfield, just of the A47 on the north side of Hinckley. Click here for a list of van hire branches in Hinckley.

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