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Shell Capital puts Auto Finance venture on hold

Shell Auto Finance, the venture launched less than a year ago by Shell Capital, is being put on ice. The firm told the 400 dealers selling its vehicle finance on June 7 that it would stop writing new business immediately.

And while Shell says no new contracts will be signed, existing deals with 4000 drivers will be honoured, along with incentives offered through the Pluspoints scheme. Shell decided to pull the plug on the operation after an internal review revealed the venture was not paying off.

“While levels of customer satisfaction and performance were exceeding our original plans, the level of return we were getting was not as high as we expected,” says a Shell spokesman.

Shell Auto Finance was launched in a blaze of publicity in August by Shell Capital, the financial services arm of Royal Dutch/Shell Group in a bid to expand into motoring financial services. Now, the jobs of 38 people employed at Shell Auto Finance's Worthing offices have been left hanging in the balance. A spokesman says there is a possibility of redundancies, but says Shell will try to re-deploy staff.

The news comes as Shell reports a first quarter dip in profits to $441m (£301m) compared with $958m (£654m) for the first three months of last year.

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