Plans for the launch of a new prestige medium-term rental fleet later this year have been announced by Meridian Vehicle Solutions.
The company intends to offer what it describes as a range of “director level” saloons, estates and SUVs on rentals of 3-6 months, starting in Q3 or Q4 of 2018.
Phil Jerome, managing director, explained: “Most of our existing fleet fits into what we describe as the ‘semi premium’ category in our marketing material. However, we find considerable success with cars that stretch this description some way upwards, such as the BMW530e, which most people correctly perceive as a genuine prestige product.
“What we plan to do is build a relatively small but carefully chosen, tax-efficient fleet that uses models at the level of the 530e as a bottom rung and then builds upwards, providing the kind of cars that would be seen on the top tier of a fleet policy in a major corporate.
“Rental provision for vehicles in this class are relatively poor. Some mainstream rental companies do occasionally offer vehicles of this type but the rates that they charge for a week would be similar to where we plan to price a monthly rental, so we very much believe that there is a place in the market for the kind of product that we are planning.”
The main reasons driving customer need for medium term prestige vehicle rental would be the same as for any other kind of company car, Meridian’s research suggests.
Phil said: “At the top level of fleets, the need for medium term cars is much the same as elsewhere – for fixed term contracts, for probationary periods and where there is a desire to roll over shorter terms contract rather than sign a 3-4 year lease.
“In some companies where the directors are also owners of the company, we would also expect to see what you might call medium term ‘lifestyle rental’ – choosing to operate a luxury SUV in the winter months and switching to something sporty in the summer.”
He added that often-excellent buying terms and strong residuals meant that vehicles at this level could often be supplied at surprisingly competitive rates.
“As ever in vehicle rental, the core of the business is always about buying and selling at the right prices. Our research into this area suggests that there is a very sound business case.
“Most of these vehicles are manufactured in low volumes and go straight back into the franchise dealer network where they are remarketed very carefully.”
Further details about Meridian’s prestige fleet product will be unveiled later this year.