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Benfield confident in multi-franchise move

Benfield Motor Group believes it can increase its corporate sales by at least £20m within two years after setting up its first multi-franchise fleet operation.

The group has invested £250,000 in new premises, an initial staff of three and a new management system. The new team will link up with teams seeking corporate business for single brands, and Benfield Contract Motoring, which writes vehicle lease business rather than outsourcing to a large specialist company.

In 2006, the turnover of Benfield’s corporate retailing business included fleet (£17.3m), new vans (£21.6m) and used vans (£4.1m). Turnover of £21.6m came from sales to customers on direct invoice contracts with manufacturers.

Mark Squires, Benfield Motor Group chief executive, believes further annual growth can be achieved beyond 2009. He has identified a demand from corporate customers who want to deal with a fleet manager in a franchised group with access to many marques.

“We aim to achieve deeper penetration into business registrations by targeting companies running 25 to 100 cars,” he says.

“This is a competitive sector, but we want to build on our reputation in Yorkshire and the north-east by offering a trustworthy and personal service.

“Many smaller companies don’t have a transport manager. Sometimes fleet management is left to the managing or finance director who have to choose between a large, impersonal fleet operator, or a ‘bedroom broker’.”

Benfield holds franchises for 10 motor brands, about half of the mainstream choice, and has the ability to outsource the rest, says Squires. The group operates 25 dealerships in north-east England, Yorkshire and Cumbria.

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