LeasePlan has continued to grow its core businesses and made good progress in its digital transformation and transition to zero emission mobility.
2019 was a solid year for LeasePlan.
Our Car-as-a-Service business grew across all customer segments, especially in SMEs, and in our insurance business, thanks to the continued implementation of our strategy. We are particularly pleased with the uptake of EVs among our customers thanks to the ‘full package’ solutions we now offer in several markets. EVs have become a significant portion of the new vehicles we order – a strong indication of how our fleet is changing.
CarNext.com, our digital platform for high-quality used cars, also performed well, with strong growth in the B2C segment, significantly higher volumes and high levels of customer satisfaction. The platform now offers fully online car purchasing solutions in [xx] countries alongside its growing network of Delivery Stores and pick-up points. At the same time, CarNext.com is sharply increasing its supply of vehicles from trusted third parties, driving further growth and traffic on the platform.
But the year was not without its challenges. The Car-as-a-Service market is expected to grow substantially over the next 5-10 years and, in order to be able to deliver mobility services to a much enlarged customer base, LeasePlan needs a digital business model that is flexible, scalable and adaptable to new opportunities and technologies. In August, we therefore took the strategic decision to stop the development of our Core Leasing System in favour of a more dynamic and modular Next Generation Digital Architecture. While this led to an impairment charge, the new architecture will enable us to offer a range of smart fleet products and services to millions of customers and generate significant efficiency savings.
Tangible benefits of our digital approach are already being seen for our customers. For example, we have begun to digitise our customer journeys, helping to improve service levels and lower costs. New digital products and services were also introduced. These include an online customer onboarding tool in several countries; the introduction of the MyFleet solution to give fleet managers real-time overviews of their vehicles’ status; and the launch of the MyLeasePlan self-service app for drivers.
Going digital also means redoubling our efforts around data privacy and cyber security, which are areas of concern for many of our customers. As such, we continue to explore how we can embed privacy governance into our products, services and business processes, as well as raising awareness around this important matter among our employees.
Another positive feature of the year was the surge in interest from our investors and other stakeholders in our sustainability strategy – a development further stimulated by the successful launch of our inaugural Green Bond to finance or refinance the purchase of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). We welcome the engagement from our investor community, which is why LeasePlan has also strengthened its Environment, Societal and Governance or ‘ESG’ reporting over the year, publishing its first ever Sustainability Report, and disclosing even more non-financial information in this annual report.
While we are committed to playing our part in the transition to the low-carbon economy by achieving zero emissions from our funded fleet by 2030, it is important that we also recognise that we are part of a wider ecosystem, and that we cannot bring about wholesale system change by ourselves. We rely on governments and other stakeholders to continue addressing key issues, such as making charging stations more widely available, greening the electricity grid and implementing long-term government incentives. We are committed to playing our part and we encourage others to do the same.
I would like to conclude by thanking LeasePlan’s dedicated people for once again demonstrating the resilience, flexibility and customer focus that are the hallmarks of our unique culture, especially in recent weeks with the onset of the Covid-19 crisis. In particular, I would like to thank our former Managing Board members, Franca Vossen and Yolanda Paulissen, for their significant contributions to LeasePlan, while welcoming our new CFO Jochen Sutor to the LeasePlan Managing Board. Jochen brings with him a unique combination of experience in banking and automotive financing, and strong track record in risk management and leadership. I would also like to thank our customers and shareholders for continuing to place their trust in us. Going forward, LeasePlan has every reason to be optimistic, with a strategy that has positioned it well to reap the benefits of the major trends in our industry and deliver further sustainable growth in the years ahead.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board
Chairman of the Supervisory Board statement
Report from the Supervisory Board