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Network Q ‘founding father’ Bryan Phillimore passes away, aged 82

Bryan Phillimore

Automotive fleet, used car and leasing pioneer Bryan Phillimore has passed away at the age of 82, following a lengthy illness.

The former managing director of one-time leading UK motor industry consultancy, Aplin Phillimore Associates (APA) created two of the largest and most innovative management consultancies in the UK motor retail, APA and The Network Group, working alongside chairman Tony Aplin.

During a 20-year period leading up to the turn of the millennium the pair created a series of award-winning programmes in the industry, including Network Q and MasterFit for Vauxhall; RapidFit, BSI-ISO National Network Accreditation, Ford Contract Motoring for Ford and Iveco Truck Leasing and Fiat Contract Hire for Fiat UK.  

Paying tribute to his long-time business partner, former APA chairman Tony Aplin, said: “Bryan was a one-off and whilst a low-key guy, was a top-class long term strategic thinker who was also as a brilliant refiner of new innovative ideas and early stage concepts. People like Bryan Phillimore are rare indeed.”

Born in east London, Phillimore was an ex-Royal Marine who saw active service in Suez.

He was a long-time Ford man, latterly in dealer training and trucks operations before linking up with Tony Aplin when he was head of fleet operations at VW-AUDI UK. Phillimore was a strong family man, who as a young Brass Band cornet player helped provide West Ham supporters with their centre circle half-time entertainment.

A tribute also described his reputation as “a mean poker player” and an “enthusiastic and optimistic golfer”.

Phillimore and Aplin's joint business venture, APA revolutionised the acceptance of vehicle leasing with fleets when they created Wheelease and Trucklease for Lombard, which made Lombard UK market leaders for 20 years. 

“APA also played a leading role in popularising leasing as a preferred funding option for major fleets”, Phillimore's obituary stated, adding: “Years later the industry used the same APA contract hire platform to popularise personal contract lease programmes for the UK retail car market sector.” 

APA worked in many motor sectors, including pioneering new operating and behavioural standards in the UK to address the poor image of the UK used car market sector.

It created national used car programmes for Fiat, Renault, BWW and Peugeot before creating the Network Q used car programme for Vauxhall.

APA also formulated the UK motor industry standards for national local business user and national fleet programmes and assisted VMs in setting up many national dealer networks including, Renault, Austin-Rover, Fiat/Lancia, Peugeot and Vauxhall. 

The consultancy business set up and ran national VM contract hire and leasing businesses for PSA, Opel, Forward Trust/Fiat-Lancia, Iveco Trucks, Ford Credit/Ford and, in South Africa, setup a fully-operational vehicle contract hire and leasing business for Standard Chartered Bank (Fleetlease).  

Later APA bought Fleetlease Pty from the bank and went on to become the market leader in South Africa.

APA was subsequently bought by LeasePlan, the global market leader.

Phillimore and Aplin also co-founded the Network Rental Group with David Owens and National Car Cleaning with Stan Macal. 

Network Rentals fully managed national dealer car rental schemes for eight VMs including Vauxhall, Renault, VW, Fiat, PSA and Ford.

Phillimore was a UK fleet and truck sector expert and together with the late Professor Peter Cooke was closely involved with Bill Jackson in setting up the very first few editions of AM’s sister title, Fleet News, providing early editorial advice, writing articles, and, crucially obtaining vital advertising income from APAs existing VM fleet contacts.



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