Cox Automotive International president Martin Forbes said the business has signalled its intent to “significantly extend our mobility capabilities in Europe” with the acquisition of FleetMaster.
The automotive services business said the deal, completed for an undisclosed sum, would enable it to further expand its capabilities to customers and prospects in Europe looking to access the latest mobility services such as rental, hire, vehicle subscription and leasing.
Forbes said: “We are seeing an accelerated shift towards mobility services as both the ownership and usership model across the automotive ecosystem evolves.
“It is therefore vital that we can offer a more extensive offering to our customers and prospects internationally.”
Cox's current strategy has targeted a doubling of the size of its business by 2034.
Over the past 18 months it has expanded the scope of its offering through the acquisition of Bruntingthorpe operator C Walton Ltd, digital automotive retail specialist Codeweavers and German dealer-to-dealer online auction business pkwNOW.
News of Cox’s latest acquisition comes on the same morning that online automotive classified advertising platform heycar announced a new partnership with Allianz as it looks to broaden the scope of its offering as a mobility provider to its European marketplace.
FleetMaster is a specialist in workflow technology for rental, leasing and dealerships which was founded in 2011.
The cloud-based fleet software business counts rental companies, dealerships and automotive manufacturers among its clients.
Cox said that the FleetMaster operation will now be integrated into Cox Automotive Mobility which, it said, was “driving the future of transportation by helping fleets”.
Its co-founders – Tom Coene, Frederik De Witte, Willem Dumon and Jochen Firey – will continue to run day-to-day operations, reporting into Forbes.
FleetMaster has offices in Ghent, Belgium, and Long Beach, California.
Forbes said: “Mobility is a huge growth area and presents a significant opportunity for us. Cox Automotive (in the US) has made several strategic acquisitions over the past few years in this sector, and the acquisition of FleetMaster is both an integral part of our future and a clear indication of our intent to significantly extend our mobility capabilities in Europe.”
He added: “Acquiring a business like FleetMaster with such a vast knowledge and expertise in this area is paramount to the growth of our mobility strategy.
“It’s a sector that will grow immensely in the coming years. I’m delighted to welcome the FleetMaster team into the Cox Automotive family, as we continue to strive towards our goal to be one of the global leaders in mobility.”
Cox said it was committed to driving the future of transportation and was focused on developing a fleet services and utilisation marketplace through Cox Automotive Mobility, which enables it to become a one-stop shop that maximises the value of a fleet asset from in-fleet to de-fleet services, fleet management platforms, subscription facilitation, to R&D in areas such as battery health and recycling, sensor diagnostics and calibration.
It added: “Based on Cox Automotive research, fleets will own the majority of connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) vehicles in the future and play a larger role in the future of mobility, with shared vehicles covering greater mileages and requiring more servicing and maintenance.”
Frederik De Witte, the co-founder of FleetMaster, said: “Through getting to know this company and its leaders, it’s clear that Cox Automotive is a business that stands by its mission to empower people today to build a better future for the next generation.
“The team we will be working with knows that this is the most exciting time in the history of transportation, and they are determined to lead the way forward.
“The addition of Cox Automotive's expertise and experience will truly add more value to our global customers, ensuring they can access the best tools and knowledge to support their businesses.
“As a family-owned company, Cox Automotive shares similar values to ours which was an important part in our decision to join them.”